TOKYO, 9 Oct - The strike move is the carefully planned, precisely choreographed series of movements that rugby teams prepare to dissect the opposition and score points. Teams will have a whole playbook of complex moves - and exceptionally simple ones - that they will raid when they have a set-piece near the opposition line.

In open play it is impossible to dictate precisely what every player will do on every phase. A centre might be expected to crash a ball up on the next phase but if he is caught in a breakdown, the fly-half and scrum-half will need to change the plan. Attacking rugby is a constantly evolving battle between plans and invention. Strike moves are the closest we get to planning perfection.

The Irish crash ball switch

Crash ball: a short pass to a player running at speed towards the defence. The idea is to go through a hole but most of the time the attacker will "crash" into the defensive line. The aim is to get over the gainline.

Switch: a pass that switches the direction of play. Fly-half Jack Carty drifts to the near side of the pitch and then switches the direction of attack by passing to Keith Earls, who is running to the far side. As defenders sprint across the pitch, they can overrun the attack and a switch will put an attacker through a hole left by a defence keen to spread across the pitch. 

The Australian pop crash

Pop crash: a shorter crash ball. Australia do not switch the play, they go the same way and Christian Lealiifano "pops" a short pass to Tevita Kuridrani, pictured above. Kuridrani will be communicating constantly with Lealiifano and the centre will be telling his team-mate where he wants the ball. Kuridrani's task is to find a hole and hit it at pace, Lealiifano just needs to pass the ball to him at the right time.

The Namibian dummy switch

Dummy switch: the movement of the switch happens but nobody gets the ball passed to them. Namibia centre Johan Deysel runs a switch to hold the New Zealand defence close to the lineout. Fly-half Helarius Kisting looks like he will switch but instead fires a long crash ball to flanker Thomasu Forbes who gets over the gainline.

The Welsh crash-loop combo

The loop: the first phase is a crash ball, with Aaron Wainwright stepping in as scrum-half. That means Gareth Davies can get to the second phase quickly. The second phase features a loop. Davies passes to Ken Owens and then runs around him. Owens passes the ball back to Davies as he is tackled by three Georgia defenders. That creates the hole that Jonathan Davies then runs through.

The loop is particularly problematic for defences. If they all converge on the pivot player, it creates space for the looping player to exploit. If they ignore the pivot player and focus on the looper, the pivot can just run into the space left in front of him. 

Next time you watch a game, look out for the planned moves the attack uses. Can you tell your switches from your loops? Look out for good dummies, some might even trick you at home.

RNS sl/sdg/mr