The art of the scrum-half kick explained

What is a box kick?

A box kick is when a kicker – almost always the scrum-half – picks up the ball from the base of a ruck and punts it high in the air, predominantly toward the nearest, blind side of the field. It is known as a “box” because primarily the kicker would aim to land the ball (after considerable hangtime) in a square of turf further up the field, near the touchline, behind the front line of defence.

Sometimes box-kicking may be the ideal exit strategy to get the ball off the field or to relieve pressure in your own territory, but at elite level you will often see box kicks as a means to create a contestable situation for your chasers, with the ball in the air.

What is a box kick?

A wider view of a box kick (Getty Images)

Ireland’s Conor Murray is considered an expert at the box kick and as he told Rugby World: “Controlling the distance is key for the kick to be contestable for the wings or full-back. I do drills marking out a box about 25 metres away and try to land the ball in there as often as I can.

“The optimum distance is 22-25 metres, but it depends how fast your wings are and how high you can kick the ball.”

Related: Conor Murray: How to master box-kicking

Another element of the modern box kick you may see is forward forming a long ruck, to create some distance between the kicker and the defence. With the ball at the base, they can set themselves up to shape for the box kick.

They will also communicate to their chasers to go after the ball, either to try and contest in the air or pressure/tackle the catching player.

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