The Harlequins and England wing gives her tips for the perfect fend

Jess Breach: How to deliver a hand-off

Harlequins wing Jess Breach has an impressive strike rate, scoring 22 tries in 13 Tests for England, including six on her debut against Canada. Her pace is a key component to her finishing ability but handing off defenders can also help her create try-scoring opportunities. Here are her tips on perfecting the fend…

Right timing

“A hand-off or fend can be beneficial anywhere on the pitch to help you break a 
one-on-one tackle. Ideally you want 
to get past the tackler before you put your arm out, so they can’t grab you while they’re following you, and you also need to be close enough to reach them with your outstretched arm.”

Full stretch

“Move the ball to the opposite hand of where the tackler is so you can reach out. Then fully extend your arm towards them, aiming for their shoulder region. You want to stretch your arm out and use them to push off, so you can run onwards from the hand-off. Then pull your arm back so the tackler can’t grab it.”

Hand placement

“Make sure you don’t go for the face or neck region when handing 
off as you’ll get penalised. Look 
to make contact with the shoulder and use that as a platform. It’s 
a firmer area, too, so you’re 
able to generate more momentum from handing 
off in that area.”


Beating defenders

“There are other ways 
I look to offset defenders. I’ll look at how their feet are planted and if they’re flat-footed look to use my footwork to beat them. Also I might change my speed, so go towards them quickly, then slow down, then go again so it offsets them.”

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

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

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