EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Counter ruck

Disrupt teams that do not put enough players into the ruck by counter rucking at the right moments. The first skill is to know how to counter ruck, then when to do it. This session works on developing the technical and decision-making tools to slow down or steal opposition ball.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-8


What to think about

Counter rucking should only be done by two players at most. If you commit too many resources, you open up gaps elsewhere, skewing the risk and reward balance in favour of the opposition. Should the counter ruck be effective, your players can flood through to steal the ball.

Set-up

  1. Identify whether the opposition is weak (lazy or poor body positions) and then attack over the ball.
  2. Drive over the ball with short, powerful steps, wrestling the opposition to unbalance them if not driving them back.

What you get your players to do

Put three attackers one step in front of a ball, 3m apart. Put three counter ruckers 2m away from the line of attackers. The counter ruckers run around to clear each attacker (see picture 1:1). Counter ruckers should work on getting into a strong position to drive attackers either back over the ball or away from it (see picture 1:2). After five seconds of counter rucking, stop and swap attackers and defenders. Keep a tally of how many each group “wins”.

Three counter ruckers coming around the corner and having five seconds to see if they can drive the “attacker” away from the ball. Then swap attackers and defenders and repeat. Check who is more successful.

Three counter ruckers coming around the corner and having five seconds to see if they can drive the “attacker” away from the ball. Then swap attackers and defenders and repeat. Check who is more successful.


Development

Have a 1v1 as before along with a 2v1 followed by another 2v1.

Players will need to work out the best match-ups to win the rucks as quickly as they can. Time them, swap groups and work out the winners. Give feedback on the best techniques to use.

Where three defenders aim to either disrupt the ruck or defend the ball being passed out. Two attackers step over the ball.

Where three defenders aim to either disrupt the ruck or defend the ball being passed out. Two attackers step over the ball.


Game situation

Put three defenders (the counter-rucking group) inside the 15m x 10m box with two of them just outside a 2m gate.

Have two attackers just over the ball, and three spread out behind (see picture 2).

When you start counting down (as if the ball is now available at the back of a ruck), the counter attackers need to work out whether to try to disrupt the ball or spread out to defend (see picture 3).

Play full contact. Develop by nominating which attackers have to go over the ball.

The defenders either try to counter ruck OR spread out to defend the attack from the ruck.

The defenders either try to counter ruck OR spread out to defend the attack from the ruck.


What to call out

“Set yourself to counter ruck, don’t just fly in”
“Get shoulders under their shoulders if you can”

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