There are 5 basic platforms used to bring forwards into an attacking phase play.
- the pick and go from the ruck
this is where 2 forwards bulldoze against the pillar defense to win hard yards. Great when your forwards are huge and your backline struggling.
Terrible when defenders are disorganized and your backs are ready to roll.
- the 9 ball pod
the forwards (2 to 4 of them) stand flat in front of the 10 for a pass from the 9.
Great when your forwards run between the defenders and bring in an offload before or after contact.
Also great if you can get them to run wider from the ruck, at the 3rd or 4th channel defender.
If defense is eating them up, use them as a decoy and pass behind them to the 10.
- the 10 ball pod
this is used in 2 ways:
1)a punch where the forwards (2 or 3 of them) stand flat in front of the 12 for a pass from the 10 or they get passed behind as a decoy for the backs.
2) a hang where forwards (1 or 2 of them) hang on either side of the 10 for a pull back pass or offload as he attacks the line (use this if you have a Creator at 10 instead of a Playmaker at 10).
- the wide pod
this is most often seen in teams who use the “2-4-2” pattern, or some variation of it.
Forwards (1 to 3 of them) stand in the Touch-5m-15m tram lines to stretch the defense wide, and/or create size mismatches with forwards on backs.
Great when you have backs who can pass, or a 10 who can cross kick, terrible when they don’t get the ball and are wasted out on the wing. If you use this pattern you need to bring this wide pod into play at most every 4th phase to make it worth it. The two-pass-rule comes in handy here, otherwise there is potential to have many phases of un-involved forwards.
- The Fiji mod
this is where the forwards slot into the backline nearest where they got up from the previous phase.
Great on a blindside where they can contribute a quick catch pass, terrible on an openside where they crowd out and slow down the backs.
Far better in my opinion for them to get in front of the backs and hit a punch/decoy option.