Gaining possession of the ball and retaining it ensures that the team has the greatest possible attack options available.
Possession is gained from the three set pieces of scrum, lineout and kick restarts. (These may be referred to as the ‘Identities’.)
There is an average of four scrums per game.
Square steady delivery from the scrum provides optimal ball for attack. Defensively at scrum the opposition should try to disrupt the quality of the attacker’s ball.
There is an average of two lineouts per game.
At lineout time the aim is to deliver quality ball to initiate the attack. The defensive lineout aims to apply as much pressure as possible to disrupt the quality of the opposition ball.
Kick restarts are the most important source of possession as on average, a try is scored every 74 seconds, which can require about 12 kick restarts per game. Restart patterns and appropriate skills need to be worked on both when kicking and chasing to retrieve and receive.
NOTE: Free kick and penalty restarts are a source of possession which does not occur under pressure from the opposition as the defenders must start 10 metres back. Although only a few are awarded during a game it is crucial that a plan is in place to utilize this ‘free’ ball.