Add extra bite to your players’ ball-placement technique by giving them these X-factor ideas. Every detail makes a difference to the speed and quality of your possession at the ruck.
1 FIGHTING TO THE GROUND
After the tackle is made, the ball carrier doesn’t stop fighting until he’s on the ground. Even if he has lost the initial battle, he can use his main weapons to go down on his terms. Specifically:
1. Leg drive – keep the legs pumping and driving forward
2. Arms and shoulders – fend with the arms, and roll the shoulders to keep riding the contact
After the tackle, the ball carrier should keep driving his legs and rolling his arms and shoulders to win vital metres
2 DYNAMIC TO THE GROUND
By “dynamic” we mean quick movements. So once on the ground, the ball carrier should be busy – using the hips and shoulders to roll and twist.
How many different ways can your players adjust to place the ball back? Practise them with quick movements.
Once on the ground, use the hips and shoulders to roll and twist. How many ways can your players adjust before they present the ball?
3 POST THE BALL
If the support is there quickly, keep the ball secure. Keep it close to the body so it’s not dislodged and then “post it” through the legs of the support players so it’s clean and available for the scrum half.
If the support arrives quickly, the tackled player can post the ball through his legs to give the scrum half clean access
4 POPPING UP THE BALL
If the support players aren’t straight over the ball, think about popping the ball back. This has two advantages:
It’s a positive move to pass, so the referee will give the ball carrier more leeway to place the ball should the carrier then decide the pop pass isn’t on.
It keeps the ball busy, making it harder for the first defender to target it.
Popping the ball up offers a chance for good go-forward because if there’s a weakness straight behind the tackle, the support player can run through this gap.
Attacking the space between two defenders in a close proximity means a good chance of a double tackle. Instead, attack one defender and beat just them.
In a tight defence, though the space between the defenders seems more attractive, it means that those two players step in to double team the ball carrier.
"With the return to rugby, I’m really worried that my team (U13s) will have forgotten lots of things about rugby. In particular, I’m trying to work out when and how to introduce contact and tackling."
This question came from a coach in Gloucester and is typical of lots of concerns around this area of the game.
It is true that the players will have "forgotten" lots of skills.
Here's how I would approach this situation. On the next page are two tackling exercises to support training.
Make sure your players use the right footwork to power through the contact area and then manipulate the ball so they can offload or present the ball cleanly.
Though power and aggression are important in the contact area, the ball carrier also needs to be technically accurate to ensure good continuity. MORE
In Jason Tee and Mike Ashford's e-learning course, Turn your game model into a training session, they set out how you can solve a performance problem. For example, how would you improve your double tacking or quick ruck ball or passing out of the tackle.
They suggest you break down coaching the problem into four stages. Depending on your current players' understanding, you can start your next training session at any one of those stages. MORE
Jono Farrell says, having researched the top teams and their success rate around the ruck, it’s clear the players have defined roles. By creating the mindset and system, you can develop the skills you need for quick ball. MORE
Putting a defender into a weak tackling position allows the attacker to either win the contact situation or fix them to pass onto a player in a better position. Here’s how to “sit down” a defender.
“Sitting down” is where an attacker makes a defender plant their feet and stop moving forward. In other words, the defender rocks back onto their heels and looks as if they are “sitting down” on a chair. MORE