EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Maul it

Mauls can be great attacking weapons. But they must be fast and dynamic, driving the opposition backwards, to provide quick clean go forward possession. The maul is simple to set up, but takes lots of live practice to perfect. “Maul it” shows you how to start the process.


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


What to think about

  •  Even with a small pack of forwards you can maul.
  •  A strong dynamic pack of forwards can always be an effective mauling unit if their technique and understanding are good.
  •  The only really effective way to develop your players’ understanding of the maul is to do it live against real resistance.
  •  Players need to develop strong driving positions, similar to those used in a scrum or to drive into a ruck. They need to understand why they are mauling and what the end result is going to be.
  •  Always train with your scrum half, so the forwards get used to hearing his instructions and learn to trust his judgement.

Set-up

  1.  Keep a good driving body position when you hit the maul.
  2.  Listen to the scrum half and drive into the maul where he tells you to.
  3.  Enter the maul legally, whether in attack or defence.

What you get your players to do

Start with a 1-on-1 situation, where the ball carrier has to stay on his feet in contact and turn to present the ball to his own team. Add a second player to each side. The attacking player has to target the ball and rip it from the ball carrier. Slowly build up the attack and defence to a 6 v 6 live situation. Focus on the players’ roles as they join the maul and maintaining good driving body positions.

The player at the back of the maul has the responsibility to make sure the ball is always available to the scrum half.

The player at the back of the maul has the responsibility to make sure the ball is always available to the scrum half.


Development

Split into two equal teams, each with a nominated scrum half (9). Start the game by throwing the ball to one team. They have to set up a maul and drive the defenders back to the end of the pitch to get a point. Any infringement against the defence leads to a restart from the point of that infringement. Referee the game strictly, so players fully understand what they can and cannot do in a maul situation.

Get the ball carrier to take contact, turn and present ball to the next player, under varying amounts of pressure.

Get the ball carrier to take contact, turn and present ball to the next player, under varying amounts of pressure.


Game situation

Split into two equal teams, each with a nominated scrum half (9). Start the game by throwing the ball to one team. They have to set up a maul and drive the defenders back to the end of the pitch to get a point. Any infringement against the defence leads to a restart from the point of that infringement. Referee the game strictly, so players fully understand what they can and cannot do in a maul situation.

The attacking team has to keep the maul moving forward or lose possession.

The attacking team has to keep the maul moving forward or lose possession.


What to call out

  •  “Move the ball to the back of the maul.
  •  “Keep your head up and drive forward, not down.
  •  “Scrum half: dominate the maul. Tell the players exactly where to go and when.
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