OFFLOADING IS not an easy skill to master, but get it right and your team will score some sensational tries. Never throw a wild pass or give the ball away cheaply in contact, but always look to offload, to keep the attack alive, if possible, in preference to going to ground.

Attacking players should always run with the ball in two hands. Tucking it under your arm automatically tells a defender that you aren’t going to pass, making it much easier for him to tackle you!

So keep defenders guessing. Only transfer the ball into the hand furthest away from the tackler at the last moment, using quick feet and a strong leg drive to try and get past your opponent.

Don’t go into contact looking to offload the ball. Try to beat your man, but offload to a support runner if you’re held – and if it’s on. Otherwise, go to ground on your terms and set up a ruck.

Don’t look to throw a long pass out of contact where a team- mate is likely to be marked by a defender. A good support runner should cut in late on an angled run and take the offload in the space vacated by the tackler.

Try to offload with two hands, floating it onto what I always describe as an invisible shelf, making it as easy as possible for the support runner to catch.

Step 1: Run straight at the defender, carrying the ball in two hands to keep him guessing

Step 2: Step off  one foot to get round the defender, transferring the ball away from his reach

Step 3: Offload with two hands, if possible, making it easier for your team-mate to catch

Step 4: The support runner cuts in late to take the offload in the space left by the defender

This article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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