The Art of Off-loading

17 Apr 2019
The Art of Off-loading

The art of the off-load is becoming more common and is a sure way to break tight defences but only if mastered... who is the best?

An off-load play reigns supreme if executed correctly, doubling down on the attacking raids that a team can launch against their opposition in quick succession. It’s an art that can prove critical to success once mastered, though the ever-evolving state of rugby means there is never a permanent solution.

Super Rugby 2019 has seen several teams thus far throw the ball around in the pursuit of second-phase play, with the Chiefs (125 offloads), Crusaders (109), and Blues (102) leading the way in quantity alone.

What becomes of those offloads once launched is the real indicator of a team’s success at generating second-phase play, though. The first step is to find a team-mate as quickly as possible - ideally directly - and this is an area where the reigning champions Crusaders have excelled, finding a team-mate directly on a competition-high 87% of all offloads thrown this season. It’s no surprise then that the Christchurch side have delivered 10 try assists by offload in Super Rugby 2019, which is two more than any other team in the competition - only the Chiefs (8) come close.

The Blues have been nearly as effective as their fellow countrymen from the offload. Though they have provided on three try assists by offload this season, they’ve created a competition-high 17 breaks via this method - more even than the Crusaders (13).

At the other end of the ledger lie the Queensland Reds, who have made a competition-low 69 offloads thus far in Super Rugby 2019. Their lower output certainly hasn’t stopped them from creating chances, however. The Reds have created eight breaks and four tries via offloads this season, the joint-most of any Australian team.

The Lions, Sharks, and Brumbies - who have each created just one try scoring scenario with an offload this season - are the teams with the most improvement required to catch up with the rest of the competition. Indeed, the Brumbies’ 12 offload errors are the second-most of any team in the competition behind only the Hurricanes (13).