The World Player of the Year gives her top tips on winning back possession

Emily Scarratt: How to regain at restarts

Emily Scarratt, World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in 2019, uses her height and athleticism to regain possession for her team at restarts, a skill she has transferred from her time playing sevens. Here the England centre explains how to do it…

Keeping possession

“Regaining restarts is more prolific in sevens, but it’s becoming a bigger thing in 15s. It’s another way of getting the ball back in a good position on the pitch.

“A short kick to compete from the restart gives you a 50-50 chance of getting the ball back; with a good kicker and a decent catcher, the odds are more in your favour.”

Kicking on target

“Good kickers either plant the ball straight on somebody – it’s quite hard for them to gather it as they can only jump up and have no momentum – or put it into space so you potentially don’t have any competition.

“Katy Daley-Mclean generally hits it towards the five-metre line, so I’ll start my run on the five so I’m coming from the outside in to catch it rather than having to get back to the ball. It’s harder to chase it back over your head.”

Taking off

“Some people can jump off both legs but I favour my left leg as my take-off leg. So I find it easier if we’re kicking off on the right-hand side of the pitch, as I can bring my body round to the ball.

“I’ll drive off my left foot and there’s a right-foot knee drive to get the height, then as that happens I throw my arms into the air as well.”


Being prepared

“You have to be quite brave as there are a lot of collisions and you rarely land back on your feet. It’s important to brace yourself as if you hit another person’s body and you’re limp, you’ll not get anywhere near the ball.

“If two people are contesting at the height of the ball, look to tap it back as trying to catch it then is a lot more difficult.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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

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