The Ireland scrum-half offers his top tips on this critical skill for No 9s

Conor Murray: How to master box-kicking

Munster, Ireland and Lions scrum-half Conor Murray is famed for the timing and precision of his box-kicking. Here he explains how he does it…

Working together

“You need an understanding with your wings and full-back. They need 
to know how high and how far you can kick it, so they can time their run.

“We’ll do reps in training so they get used to how long I take to get the kick away, so they can be onside and have the best chance of getting the ball back.”

Technical details

“The ball drop is very important. I like to kick it right under the ball, on the tip, while other guys kick it further up.

“I’m unorthodox in that I drop the ball with two hands rather than one and I’ve had to work so it falls in the correct position. If you drop it with one hand you have more time to correct as your hand is on the ball longer.”

Distance drills

“Controlling the distance is key for the kick to be contestable for the wings or full-back. I do drills marking out a box about 25 metres away and try to land the ball in there as often as 
I can.

“The optimum distance is 22-25 metres, but it depends how fast your wings are and how high you can kick the ball.”


Protection detail

“Your blockers are generally forwards around the ruck, so you need to have an understanding with them too. A lot of teams now make the ruck really long to take the pressure off as defenders are further away.

“Blockers must be aware of what’s in front 
of them, so that guys don’t run through, and not get in the way of the kick.”

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills.

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