EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

My maul

Mauling could be a very powerful weapon for you this season and you don’t have to be a big side to use it. Here’s a simple tactic – set up a maul from the back of rucks to give your side go forward and tie in their defenders. It is easier than you might think to execute.


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

Mauls should not happen by accident. This move is a set play from the base of a ruck, hence the name: “My maul”.

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. They must call in the players to bind onto them and then help direct the maul forward.

Set-up

  1. Ball carrier: pick up the ball in a strong balanced position and take contact with one team mate bound on.
  2. First support player: bind on to the ball carrier at hip level, either onto 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 opposite.
  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 small box of cones, representing a ruck, with a pair of defenders either side of it. Call for an attack on one side of the ruck. The attack aims to maul those two defenders only, driving them behind the ruck.

Start the exercise at walking pace, until the players are happy with their roles. You can give the defenders ruck pads to start with, but it is important to progress quickly to full contact.

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

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


Development

Set up 5 attackers and 5 defenders at the side of a playing area containing three “rucks”. Place a ball at each ruck. Call out a ruck for the teams to position themselves at.

The attack decides which side to attack. They are not allowed to pass the ball. Play full contact rugby.

Shout which “ruck” to run to. The defenders set up a close ruck defence either side of the ruck and with a defender behind it.

Shout which “ruck” to run to. The defenders set up a close ruck defence either side of the ruck and with a defender behind it.


Game situation

Split into two teams of 8. Play normal rugby, restarting from infringements with a tap pass and with the opposition only two metres 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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