The World Cup-winning coach gives his top tips for scrum-halves

How to pass from the base – by Gary Street

Passing from the base is a crucial skill for scrum-halves – it’s all about the speed and accuracy of getting the ball from the floor to a team-mate’s hands.

Here Gary Street, who guided England Women to World Cup glory in 2014 and is now part of the Harlequins Academy coaching team, gives his top tips on how to pass from the base…

The approach

“The quality of passing from scrum-halves stands out in New Zealand rugby. People like Aaron Smith get so much speed and width on the ball.

“It’s all about technique and the approach is key. A lot of nines get to a ruck and are flat-footed, particularly if going from right to left and then the ten wants to go back down the blind side, so get your approach right.

“And make sure your leg isn’t in the way, so you can sweep the ball from the floor rather than have to pass over your knee. You want your lead leg towards the target.”


The weight transfer

“Keep still and on target, stay low, bend from your knees, and then transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot. If you just pass from your arms you lose power.

“The biggest way to put power and length into a pass is by transferring your bodyweight from your back foot to your front foot.”

How to pass from the base

Pointing to the target: Leanne Riley extends her arms as she passes (Getty Images)

The extension

“The best scrum-halves keep a long rifle position – they get full extension in both their arms as they pass the ball and their hands are finishing pointing to the target.

“I talk to kids about the opening sequence in James Bond and how scrum-halves need to be good at firing with their hand placement.”

The repetition

“It takes practice. It’s great if you have a mate to pass to but if not, try doing 200 passes towards a rugby post in sets of ten, off your left and right hands – you’ll want to hit the target otherwise you’ll have to go farther to collect the ball!

“For younger players, ask your mum, dad or a grandparent to hold a hoop or target up in the garden.”

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

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