chapter  15
A Three-Dimensional Analysis of Lineout Throwing in Rugby Union
Pages 3

Lineout possession is a critical aspect of modern Rugby Union. Prior to rule changes that allowed lifting, the lineout represented a competitive mechanism for returning the ball into play and turnovers in possession were frequent. In the years following the advent of lifting in the lineout, the team throwing the ball in won nearly all lineout possessions. The resultant possession “certainty” meant that many rugby commentators began to question the competitive role of the lineout in the game. However, rule changes and advances in the tactical and technical understanding of lineout play have reduced the advantages of the throwing team noticeably over the past four years. In order to increase uncertainty in the defensive side, teams now employ an unprecedented number of lineout alternatives, varying throw length, type and lifting options considerably both between and within matches. Accordingly, there is now increased pressure on the thrower (hooker) to deliver the ball accurately, as even small errors result in a loss of possession and/or team momentum.