The 2021 Guinness National Sevens Series kicked off with an exciting Mileke Sevens circuit on October 2-3 at Legends Rugby Grounds.

This unrolled thread is a brief analysis of the ‘kick restart’ and how teams approached this key aspect of the game.

Ernest Akor, our rugby reporter, has some quick analysis here…

The video above shows Rams 2 with a typical kick restart against Stallions.

Attack targets the zone inside the 22m territory & the 15m line. Defense responds (normally) by swinging the ball out wide for the first phase.

This is how most teams behaved during Mileke Sevens

Some teams opted to chase the kick, not to contest possession, but to make the all-important first tackle. This gives them time to reset their line of defense for the following phase.

Like Buffaloes against fellow Kyadondo side Stallions in this video.

More skilled teams, like winners Kobs and the two runners-up Black Pirates & Heathens, employed a different tactic for the attack.

A short kick with long hung time chased by a specifically selected player with one objective: to retain possession and attack.

It looks normal to a spectator but these are moves practiced during training, and every player knows their roles and what is going to happen next.

Watch how Wanyama signals (with his eyes) to his Black Pirates teammates to get ready before he delivers a similar short contestable kick.

Communication is key. Between the kicker and the chasers.

In this video, the Mongers kicker smartly recognizes that Rams 2 aren’t ready for the restart, but so are his chasers and thus an opportunity to attack is lost with a handling error that could have been avoided.

The margins are so fine at the restart. The kick and chase must be accurate to get a chance to retain possession.

In this case, Black Pirates’ kick against Sailors is short. So they have to defend a freekick at the halfway line.

In this one, the kick is good but Kobs’ chase is not successful in retaining possession.

So Rams sprint away to score under the uprights.

For the defense, there was variation in tactical approach when these teams were faced with their kick restart.

For example, in this video, Kobs opted to lift a lighter player for reception of the short and high kick.

In this one, Sailors in black and grey tops, knowing that their seniors Black Pirates were going to attempt to slap the ball backward, plant a player ahead of the contest area to intercept the ball.

They regain possession immediately and attack out wide.

It was interesting to see teams employ different tactics in the opening circuit of the 2021 Guinness Sevens series. The focus now turns to the second circuit which will be held in Gulu City on October 9, 2021.

Originally tweeted by Kawowo Sports (@kawowosports) on October 4, 2021.

Ernest Akorebirungi joined Kawowo Sports in July 2019 after one year as a student volunteer at the Makerere University Games Union. In his role as rugby correspondent, he offers unique insight and analysis...

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