EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Maul ball for all

Mauling is a powerful weapon and you don’t have to be a big side to use it. A great tactic is to set up a maul from the back of a ruck to create go-forward and tie in their defenders.


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

The player who picks up the ball must take charge of the maul. It is an ideal opportunity to give a forward more responsibility to do this. He calls in team mates to bind onto him and then help direct the maul forward.

Set-up

  1. Ball carrier: Pick up the ball in a strong, well-balanced position and take contact with one team mate bound on.
  2. First support player: Bind onto the ball carrier at hip level, either alongside the ball or with your shoulder on the ball carrier’s hip.
  3. Second support player: Watch what the first support player does, then do the same on the opposite side.
  4. Drive the maul forward and release the ball when your 9 says so or when the maul stops.

What you get your players to do

Put three attackers in front of a 3m x 1m box – representing a ruck – with a pair of defenders either side of it. You call for an attack on one side of the ruck – A or B. The attack aims to maul against those two defenders, driving them behind the ruck (see picture 1).

Start the exercise at walking pace, until the players are happy with their roles.

The attack forms a maul and drives into the two defenders on the side of the ruck you call.

The attack forms a maul and drives into the two defenders on the side of the ruck you call.


Development

Set up a 5v5 at the side of a playing area containing three coned-off “rucks” A, B and C. Place a ball at each ruck. Call out a letter for the teams to position themselves at (see picture 2).

The attack decides on which side of the ruck to attack. It is not allowed to pass the ball. Play full contact rugby (see picture 3).

Shout which “ruck” to run to (A, B or C). The defenders set up a close ruck defence on each side of the ruck with a defender behind it.

Shout which “ruck” to run to (A, B or C). The defenders set up a close ruck defence on each side of the ruck with a defender behind it.


Game situation

In a 20m box, split into two teams of 8. Play normal rugby, restarting from infringements with a tap pass and with the opposition 2m away. The team in possession is only allowed to pass after a maul. If a ruck forms, then the team must form a maul before passing again.

Once in position, the attackers decide which side to attack, setting up a maul to drive forward. The defenders can cover round.

Once in position, the attackers decide which side to attack, setting up a maul to drive forward. The defenders can cover round.


What to call out

“Keep the ball away from the opposition”
“Don’t fully turn. Drive square if you can”
“Short steps to maintain balance”

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