EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Counter rucks

Good counter rucking disrupts the opposition attacking ball and may lead to you winning a turnover. This session makes your players more aware of the usefulness of the tactic, whilst practising the basic rucking skills needed to drive back opposition players.


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


What to think about

Counter rucking works when there are attackers already “set” over the ball. This gives the counter rucker a better target. That target will be static, though probably braced for action.

The best counter rucker will only take a few steps, get under his opponent and drive them backwards. This can push the player onto his own scrum half, thus possibly disrupting the clearing pass.

Set-up

  1. Set yourself low and square before driving into the ruck.
  2. Stay on your feet and keep pumping your legs to put the opposition player under pressure.

What you get your players to do

Put two cones about 5m apart with two ruck pad holders facing each other standing over them. Place two players in between the pad holders. On your shout of “GO”, the players drive into their respective pads. They should touch the cone with a hand just before impact to get their height right. They drive back the pads 1m before turning and driving into the other pad.

Repeat four times before swapping the players’ roles.

Two players drive into ruck pads, touching the cones beforehand. They drive the pads back 1m before turning and repeating four times each.

Two players drive into ruck pads, touching the cones beforehand. They drive the pads back 1m before turning and repeating four times each.


Development

Set up two pairs of players as the middle picture. Name each pair, let’s say with a colour.

Put a fifth player in the middle of the box. Have him to jog around before you shout out the colour of one of the pairs. Have the fifth player go to ground and present the ball to the pair called. They form a protective shield over the prone player. Then shout for the other pair to come forward and try to ruck these players off the ball.

Two players form a protective shield over a prone ball carrier. The other players try to ruck them off the ball.

Two players form a protective shield over a prone ball carrier. The other players try to ruck them off the ball.


Game situation

Set up three attackers about 5m from their line against four defenders. Have a spare attacker stand by his own try line. Set off the attack. The try line attacker can only join in after 15 seconds.

Play normal rugby rules, and encourage the defence to win back the ball and score at the other end.

The attackers have to keep possession for 15 seconds against a defensive overload.

The attackers have to keep possession for 15 seconds against a defensive overload.


What to call out

  • “Look at the target”
  • “Drive square, so your hips are facing up the field”
  • “Drive up so you don’t fall into the ground”
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