Break through! Know how you use effective rugby sidesteps and break defences when you switch direction at will, in a flash. Do not think about it. Do it.
It's really just an easy way of saying
Legendary player Gareth Edwards had this to say about being beaten by his friend, sidestepping legend Gerald Davies.
He could change direction by almost ninety degrees I knew that, but at ninety miles an hour! No one told me thatGareth An autobiography, Gareth Edwards, 1978
You create confusion in the defence. Sidestepping when the defence is disorganised (broken play) is even more effective.
Because you are so unpredictable opponents
you create space and time for yourself and others.
You need to know
Have a look at rugby sidestep essentials. It`s about the things all sidesteps have in common.
To score more tries, get more points, win more games you must get the ball past the defence.
You have two main options
So it`s usually best to carry the ball but it's harder for you, the ball carrier, because they tackle you. They throw you on the floor!
You make it more difficult for them to tackle you when you can sidestep. You have options others don`t even know exist.
You do things others believe impossible.
Swift passing and planned moves are good but with sidesteps you are totally unpredictable, very hard to tackle. They are very wary.
They worry about what you might do. They hang back, waiting, trying to read you. So you have more space and time and even more options and opportunities!
Where are you going, what will you do next, who should tackle you?
You create chaos and opportunities for yourself and supporting players.
This video is a light-hearted introduction. However, the skills involved are deadly serious.. The video includes a number of different steps. Use these skills and you are a game-breaker.
You beat and baffle opponents!
get out of impossible situations
attack through invisible gaps
create space or gaps by manipulating opponents
Invaluable and exhilerating for you
Devastating and demoralising for the opposition
Inspiring and encouraging for the team
Entertaining and exciting for anyone watching
Evade the opposition in a flash!
It`s how some famous players become famous!
There are so many variations. So hard to describe. So we just call them sidesteps. Anywhere, anytime. Players cleverly evading each other. You may even need a slow motion replay to see it.
That's all part of the magic. It's over in a flash. We just say
It's hard to give players' sidestepping actions clearcut names. I'll identify some typical sidesteps. Expect variations rather than exactly these actions.
You could start by looking at a few sidesteps on video.
Very good, EFFECTIVE AND DAMAGING type of sidestep.
See what your opponent sees with this classic sidestep video clip.
Game-time views of classic rugby sidesteps are hard to view freely (because of copyright laws) but you will see one here at the classic sidestep where the sidestepper cuts inside the opponent.
Rugby sidesteps have changed since the old days.
Changed, but not improved.
Unlike many rugby skills, the sidestep is in poor shape.
Look at the modern sidestep where the sidestepper cuts inside the opponent.
You can also move sharply sideways or even backwards when you evade would-be tacklers at slightly slower pace.
It's been called a sidestep. It's been called a jink. I'm using both names just to be sure! The rugby jink sidestep
There are plenty of other ways to evade tacklers. Some players appear to have ability but are unable to reproduce sidesteps which beat opponents consistently.
The attempts appear to be created in the moment or are attempts to copy others. These attempted steps tend to have a very low (close to zero!) success rate.
In this category are bunny hops, general leg waggles and two-footed rugby sidesteps. They sometimes work but are too varied and ineffective to include.
You use evasion techniques like rugby sidesteps to slip through gaps or use them to create gaps to slip through.
How do you know where the gaps are or where you can create a gap? For more about how you see gaps, have a look at vision in rugby.
You play well when you can work out what to do several moves ahead. You need to know what`s likely to happen next in play so you can see weaknesses developing and use a step to take advantage. You can find out more on the page about reading the game.
Want to know exactly how to sidestep?
Do it with Step-by-Step Instructions on our Evtechs evasion page
Remember - practice enough and it becomes instinctive.
Only then - in the moment, without even thinking about it, you will truly know when to sidestep!
So get plenty of sidestep practice.
The earliest reference I've seen to rugby sidesteps mentions the year 1930. Documentary evidence suggests they were already part of the game at that time.
Mention of players like Bleddyn Williams and Peter Jackson using sidesteps comes later. These early sidesteps and rugby pioneers give some clues about the origin of the sidestep.
The sidesteps boom came in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.
The boom was mainly driven by Welsh rugby players but also included a scattering of players from other nations.
Want to know more and sidestep well?
Chase down video of these players and find out what lesson there is to learn from the period when sidesteps boom.
As coaching took hold of the rugby world, more and more effort was placed on creating solid defence. Fewer sidesteps are seen.
It became so bad that an article in the The Independent newspaper, in November 1999 claimed " The sidestep passes into history..."
So, the sidestep passes into history, does it?
........Over my dead...... leg - don't want to go too far now, do we! I've been pretty close a couple of times already!
The good news is that the sidestep is avoiding extinction!
I'm so HAPPY!
There is interest from around the world. This site caters for people new to rugby as well as for those who already know about the sidestep.
That's great - you'll learn the sidestep with all the other basic skills.
Think Welsh rugby, think sidesteps, evasion, footwork, steps, trickery, wizardry, something from nothing, jinks and jinkers.
Of course many countries have players who sidestep - but it`s always the same country with most and best.
I base this on sidesteps captured on camera in high level games. Over the last several decades Welsh rugby is miles in front.
It`s a proud tradition - part of Welsh culture.
Read player autobiographies of sidestepping players and you'll see many references to playing
all good reasons to change direction quickly and avoid being tackled!
Contrast this with the wide open spaces of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia with plenty of room for full size rugby fields and - we might have the answer!
The need to be tricky and elusive in Wales would have been helped by role models who had gone through the process themselves and found being evasive is a fantastic skill to have, even on bigger pitches.
Gareth Edwards tells of his early rugby playing days on a narrow strip of land, "Cae Archie".
The "Cae" (Welsh for field) belonged to the local farmer, Archie - hence "Cae Archie". Gareth tells how Cae Archie
was just a narrow strip, about twenty yards wide... .Somehow all the boys from the village fitted into it....carefully laid sawdust touchlines and try-lines. Very professional.
GARETH An autobiography, Gareth Edwards (ISBN 0 09 134800 5)
Read it, you`ll love it! I bought an autographed copy second-hand, just a few quid extra,
And this was before he was even six years old!
There must be hundreds, thousands even, of fantastic sidesteps that were never recorded. Probably just as many were recorded, but partially hidden by other players or not fully appreciated because of camera position and so on.
Some of these Welsh rugby sidesteps can be seen as clips on other sites, some only on rugby DVD or rugby video tapes. Even if the clip is available free on other sites it is well worth the small price of owning your own copy.
When you have your own copy you can view easily, usually with much better clarity and size. You can also inspect incidents in slow motion and see exactly how it happens!
Clips - you peer at them, good for finding out what to buy.
Your own DVD/tape - you live it!
One of the earliest recorded sidesteps I have seen is that of Welsh rugby player Ken Jones in the game against New Zealand in 1953.
Ken Jones played for Newport, Wales and the British Lions. He was also an Olympic sprinter.
Wales attacking towards the camera move the ball to the left wing from where it is kicked across field towards the right wing. Ken Jones collects the ball after one high bounce, sidesteps the number two covering across field and scores close to the posts.
Because of the unusual camera angle, you can see exactly what Ken Jones does when he sidesteps his opponent - nice finishing!
Look for this on 101 Great Welsh Tries. The indicator on my DVD player says 1.2.8.08.
How to sidestep at pace and finish with guts and determination.
Gareth Edwards sidestep in the 1969 Wales rugby against France.
How to counter attack with a sidestep and create "something from nothing"
Phil Bennett sidestep in the 1973 Wales rugby against Ireland.
How you counter attack and back up - fantastic sidesteps. Gerald and Phil
- some of the best!
Davies and Bennett in the 1977 Wales rugby against Scotland.
How to jink your way to a try. Jink. Works well? - try it again, and again and again
Ieuan Evans in the 1988 Wales rugby against Scotland.
How to get around the field and the opposition at lightning speed
Recent Wales rugby.
A number of Wallaby players have stepped up at the right time - backing themselves with great results.
There have been few times I can recall when there have been so many players in one international squad who have shown you can beat opponents with a sidestep.
The players I have in mind are
All these players have shown they are capable of some dazzling footwork. Of course that is nothing in itself, but I`m sure they have other teams thinking!
When any of these players have the ball they have the ability to break the defense. Any one of them is capable of turning a game by creating something from nothing.
The more opponents become aware of this the more it is going to play on their minds. We are in for some interesting times.
Update: Those interesting times arrived...
...when the Queensland Reds won the 2011 Super 15 Final.
Have a look - highlights (including a great sidestep not even mentioned!) how they did it (on YouTube) Great stuff!!
Over the years Australia has provided plenty of enjoyable rugby for rugby supporters and plenty of victories
Thinking about individual rugby skills only a few players come to mind as being truly able to deceive opponents one-on-one.
One is Ken Wright who played Union and League in the 1970s. See an excellent example of his sidestepping ability in the 3rd Test against The All Blacks in 1978.
Find this on the excellent rugby DVD "Rugby in the 70s" my dvd player showed it at 2:6: 42:30
Hipwell gathers an awkward ball from a line-out. He passes, missing out five-eigth Tony Melrose, the ball going straight to inside centre Ken Wright.
Wright`s fantastic sidestep takes him in behind the All Blacks defence and he races across field before Greg Cornelsen goes in at the corner, getting his third try of four tries for the day in a memorable win for the Australian Rugby team.
Andrew Walker is another. I`m going from memory so I don`t have any footage to mention.
And they seek him here, they seek him there - it seemed to be so hard to catch the amazingly elusive rugby winger David Campese
The dark arts of the rugby sidestep are being kept alive by dedicated practioners in secret locations.
Note - the sounds on the video are Australian Kookaburras, not spectators!
New Zealand is a great example for both quality and quantity of sidesteps captured on camera in high level games.
But where do they come from? That`s a difficult question!
Of course, beating opponents one-on-one is an extremely important part of the game. Especially (but not only!) in the backs - so evasive skills should develop.
But it`s not of supreme importance if your team wins most games anyway with stratagies which require little use of the backs - which was the chosen way in the past, especially in NZ.
So, there is a bit of a tradition to use the sidestep, but nowhere near as strong as in Wales.
Having read a number of books on the subject, it is clear to me that a number of top New Zealand players had real sidestepping skills when sidesteps were beginning to boom.
They were excellent sidesteppers. They could describe how they did it - many sidesteppers can`t do that.
What a shame more New Zealnd rugby players did not use their knowledge and experience.
Ron had a distinquished career with the New Zealand All Blacks, playing in 37 games for New Zealand in the early 1950s.
In his career of 134 first-class matches he scored 145 tries - so he knew a fair bit about how to get to the try line!
After he retired, at the tender age of 26, he went on to write an excellent book Rugby on Attack (Whitcombe & Tombs LTD, 1961).
More about Ron Jarden and 1953 New Zealand rugby.
In the 1970s New Zealand rugby had an outstanding player in Bryan Williams.
Williams was a fast elusive player who represented New Zealand between 1970 and 1978.
More about Bryan Williams and 1970 New Zealand rugby.
Before you have rugby sidesteps you have to have rugby - not strictly true, but near enough!
There is no long tradition of rugby in Asia but Asian rugby is really taking off, spreading from the established Asian countries.
A wonderful opportunity to firmly embrace evasive skills like the sidestep and build a powerful attacking rugby culture.
First the rugby, then improve skills and competitiveness.
Players....clubs...states within countries....countries...
Divide them into two groups....
The older, more established know they are doing something right or they wouldn`t be where they are today - so, perhaps the thinking tends to be "if it ain`t broke, don`t fix it!"The newer, up and coming know they need something special, an edge, to make significant headway - but what - "we`ll try anything!"
Looking for something special - it`s the sidestep!
As an individual, learn to sidestep and you will shine!
As a club or country, create a nucleus of players who can sidestep and you have the potential to rocket up the rankings over time.
It's all about being able to read the game and react in the moment.
Sorry, not till you are 35! Worth waiting? Many say 'Yes!' They are the rugby golden oldies. Rugby beginners can play - must be prepared to have fun!
A bit of exercise, meet new people, make new friends.
All the fun of playing rugby and enjoying the social side with a few special rules to reduce the pain and suffering!
Short stints on the field are allowed and you can make multiple appearances in the same game.
Discover what you have been missing or relive the glory days.
And here`s a bit of magic
If you wear the right shorts nobody can tackle you.
Of course if you polish your golden sidestep noboby can tackle you anyway!Return to Select a topic