EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Can’t ruck, won’t ruck

All your players have to be able to clear away defenders at the breakdown. Though you won’t want your 9 or 10 to do too much of this work, they may be the first ones there. This session forces players to learn and creates confidence to ruck more.


Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7


What to think about

There are a couple of reasons why players can’t or won’t ruck.

First, they lack good technique so feel they cannot make a difference. Second, they do not understand the value of rucking if they are first to arrive.

You can help build confidence and understanding by creating situations where they are not necessarily the first person at the ruck – but could be.

Avoid practising rucking in isolation. Rucking is as much about good technique as decision making.

Set-up

  1. Look ahead, get low and drive out the defender over the ball.
  2. Short steps, with your shoulders and hips in line.
  3. Want to win the contact area.

What you get your players to do

Set up a ruck pad holder in a very low position with another player behind him acting as extra support. Put a ball just in front of the ruck pad.

Have one player pick up the ball and drive low and down into the ruck pad. Two other players behind drive over the player and attempt to push the ruck pad holder and his supporter away from the ball.

One player picks up ball and drives before going to ground at the ruck pad. Two players try to drive the ruck pad holder and his supporter away.

One player picks up ball and drives before going to ground at the ruck pad. Two players try to drive the ruck pad holder and his supporter away.


Development

  • Have the two attackers arrive from different angles.
  • Add another defender who attempts to steal the ball.
  • Remove the ruck pad.
Throw the ball close to the attackers. The first attacker to the ball falls on it and presents it.

Throw the ball close to the attackers. The first attacker to the ball falls on it and presents it.


Game situation

Put four attackers in the middle of the box and two defenders at each end.

Throw the ball into the box and that decides which way the attack will go. The first attacker to the ball dives on it and presents it. The other attackers must clear away defenders and pick up to score, while defenders try to regain the ball. Have four attempts before swapping teams.

The defenders and attackers compete for the ball, with the attackers aiming to score at the end the ball was thrown into.

The defenders and attackers compete for the ball, with the attackers aiming to score at the end the ball was thrown into.


What to call out

  • “Brush your hands over the player on the ground to make sure you are low enough”
  • “Drive through and up – don’t look down as you drive”
  • “Accelerate the drive in the last step before contact, so you don’t lose balance”
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