SELLING A dummy – pretending you’re about to pass but then keeping the ball yourself – is a great trick to have in your locker.

“There’s no better feeling than selling a dummy to a defender, leaving them reeling in your wake,” says Matt Dawson, the ex-England scrum-half who famously sold an outrageous dummy whilst scoring for the 1997 Lions in South Africa.

Fooling an opponent in this way can often help you score or create a try. But first you must convince the defender that you’re about to pass. You can only trick him into buying a dummy if you hold the ball in both hands, so that he really thinks you’re going to pass. “Use your head, hands and hips to confuse the defender, then accelerate into the space you’ve created,” Dawson adds.

You have to get the timing right, though. Pretend to pass early enough to avoid crashing into your opponent, yet late enough to leave him with no time to react.

Step 1: Hold the ball in two hands and look towards the team-mate who you’re pretending to pass to

Step 2: The defender should be drawn towards your team-mate, thinking he’s about to intercept your pass

Step 3: At the last moment, pull the ball back towards you, leaving the defender stranded

Step 4: Accelerate into the space that the tricked defender has left – and it’s try time!

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

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