The Harlequins and Italy fly-half gives his top tips on the restart

How to kick off – by Tommy Allan

The kick-off/restart is often described as ‘the third set-piece’ and teams have several plays they can use depending on the situation in the game or the opponents.

Here Harlequins and Italy No 10 Tommy Allan gives his top tips on how to kick off…

Have a regular routine

“You hope to only kick off once or twice in a game. When you have an important kick I think, ‘I’ve done this hundreds of times in training’. There are breathing techniques that can help you to stay calm, but practise your kicks a lot and do the same thing you do in training on the pitch.”

Judge the situation

“If a team tends to kick straight back from kick-offs, you want to kick long so that you can have a lineout in the attacking half. It will also depend on the situation in the game.

“If you’re a few points behind in the last minutes, you want to kick short and win the ball back. Most teams kick deep with long hang time so it can still be contested. That will give your wingers a chance to compete for the ball.”

Think ‘who’

“Sometimes you might kick to their best player so that you can tackle him and make him unavailable for the next phase. You could also kick towards the wingers, so the receiving team has to go through a few more phases before they kick as they wait for the wingers to get back in position to chase.”

Work on technique

“For a drop-goal you want to hit the ball as soon as it touches the ground. A kick-off is different because you want to let the ball bounce slightly. That will make the ball go higher with a longer hang time. The more you let the ball bounce, the higher it will go.

“I’m quite a front-on kicker and my shoulders will point towards my target line. For a short chip kick that you want to land just over the 10m, you want to let the ball bounce and swing less.”

This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s January 2022 edition.

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