If a player chooses not to pass the ball to a team-mate or run with it, that player may kick the ball instead. The kick can travel forwards, but any team-mates in front of the ball at the moment the ball is kicked are out of play (offside) until either they retire behind the kicker or are played onside by a team-mate who was behind the kicker.
Retaining possession of the ball following a kick is a challenge. Kicking strategies include:
- kicking into space, so that team-mates have time to run onto the ball before an opponent can get to it
- kicking out wide, at an oblique angle to the field, so that the winger or outside centre can catch the ball
- kicking the ball to touch (off the field of play) resulting in a lineout with the throw-in to the opposition. This concedes possession of the ball but allows the kicking team to contest for the ball in a much more advantageous position on the field.