We often refer to rugby as the running game, but fundamental to this is the basic of all running skills, the Side Step.
The Side Step, together with the Swerve, is used to beat your defender in a one on one situation.
They are also used as the basic set up of many moves, particularly in the Backline, and are fundamental to creating space for the attacking team.
The Side Step is being used more frequently in a close contact situation when attempting to shift the opposition players out of their defending channel. This allows more opportunity for continuity skills.
Note that the basic principles of rugby are represented again in creating more time and thus space in the hope of avoiding the contact with the defence.
Quarantine the defence by running towards the nearest defenders and shorten your step
Turn shoulders and upper body completely in the direction you want the opposition to think you are going
Change direction by driving off the leg furthest from the intended direction with a hard step
Foot plant the foot of the same leg on the angle towards the direction you want to move to
Lower your centre of gravity by sinking at the hips
Accelerate to take advantage of the defender’(s) hesitation by using a fast step
It is essential to sell to the opposition that you are going in one direction before changing direction
Lean over the foot you are driving off
Transfer the ball away from the defender to allow a fend if required.
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