Analysis: Why one of rugby's most annoying tactics is so effective

Analysis: Why one of rugby's most annoying tactics is so effective

In his latest exclusive for Ultimate Rugby, Omar Mouneimne has a look at exactly why Exeter Chiefs and other sides use the controversial caterpillar box kick.

In part one of the two-part analysis, Omar takes a closer look at why Exeter, in particular, use this kick and why more sides should consider it.



While many slam the use of the tactic as it slows down the pace of the game and is not particularly the most entertaining thing watch, it is extremely effective as Omar explains below:

Continue reading below...


The tactic works really well for Exeter's defensive line and tactics despite the fact that the caterpillar is long and looks like a lot of numbers are committed.


Notice how in this clip against Worcester. Worcester make the tackle, counter ruck and keep the pressure on Exeter at the breakdown. Once Worcester have stopped counter rucking and Exeter are ready to kick, the players involved in the ruck for Exeter go from being on the ground to standing up and get in their 'on your marks position'.

This means they're no longer stuck on the floor when the kick is made.


Notice the kick is made and that whole caterpillar suddenly gets nearly into the front line. So that's a trick that most miss with the caterpillar from Exeter and most teams should strive for this no matter how long the caterpillar is.

The Caterpillar gives you the length and protection not to be charged down, but then after they have been counter-rucked it is important to reload your caterpillar as in: stop lying on the floor, Get into your on your marks position.


The scrumhalf kicks and you are on your bike.


Now, if you watch in the next clip from the helicopter view, you'll see that all those guys from the caterpillar get into the front line. Exeter defend with 14 men up in the line with just the one player, the fullback, at the back.

This does shift when the attack starts to move them around a bit more and they then might drop a second cover.


The fashion has been '13 high', 13 players in the front line of the attack, for a long time in the modern game but Exeter exits sometimes take the chance of even doing a 14th guy high. 


So although it is incredibly annoying for the viewer, the tactic is incredibly effective and useful to a side, particularly when you are looking to apply pressure on the opposition from an exit.


In his next Exclusive analysis for Ultimate Rugby, Omar has a look at how some Six Nations' sides use this tactic. Keep an eye on our social media pages for when it is released.

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