EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Heads up: Win all your rucks

Winning the space over the ball after the tackle can be the difference between quick and slow ball. If a player gets his head over and beyond the ball-and remains on his feet – it is likely his team will gain possession. This session works on the technique needed to do this and stay on the feet.


Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10


What to think about

It is often best to start this session at walking pace. Look at the footwork and body angles players need to adopt to win that space over the ball.

Because they are stepping over a ruck pad on the ground initially, this will mean careful placement of the feet – which might unbalance the player.

Work hard on keeping players on their feet, because they can only continue to drive if they are low enough and still gripping the ground with their toes.

Set-up

  1. Get to the tackle situation quickly, then drive over the tackled player and ball.
  2. Make sure you stay on your feet, keep square-on and in balance.

What you get your players to do

Split into pairs as shown in picture 1. Put a ruck pad on the ground with a ball on one side. On this side put a ruck pad holder facing away 3m from the pad. On the opposite side put another player facing away at the same distance.

On your command the players aim to get over the ball, so the non-ruck pad holder has drive off the ruck pad holder as shown in picture 2. Swap roles . Vary the distances to suit the players.

Two players at the side of a ruck pad which is on the ground. One of the players holds another ruck pad and there is ball at the side of the ruck pad.

Two players at the side of a ruck pad which is on the ground. One of the players holds another ruck pad and there is ball at the side of the ruck pad.


Development

Start the players from different angles, so they may have to run back and then round.

Take away the ruck pads and make it a full contest for the ball.

On your command, the players race to win the battle over the ball. Both have to enter through the “gate”.

On your command, the players race to win the battle over the ball. Both have to enter through the “gate”.


Game situation

As shown in picture 3, put a player on his knees (or one knee) in the middle of the box, in front of a player with a ball. The ball carrier walks or jogs forward, taking a tackle. The other two players then enter the box to compete to win the battle of the heads. Shout “Stop” once you think one player has won or there is an infringement.

The player on his knees tackles the ball carrier. The other two players aim to win the battle of the heads. Stop once it is obvious who has won or there is an infringement.

The player on his knees tackles the ball carrier. The other two players aim to win the battle of the heads. Stop once it is obvious who has won or there is an infringement.


What to call out

  • “Chop the steps before the contact, so you keep moving forward”
  • “Drop the hips before contact”
  • “Keep the eyes open and looking ahead not down”
  • “Get your head over the ball”
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