EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Planes taking off

Safe rucking equals good rucking. This session helps players get the idea that arriving at the ruck with a good body position will give them more power at the contact and will keep them on their feet. This low to high movement is like a plane taking off.


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


What to think about

One of the most important considerations when coaching players is safety. You shouldn’t do anything in training without first considering the potential dangers.

Most of the dangers can be minimised by coaching players the correct technique in a safe and controlled environment.

Rucking is all about stability and being able to stay on your feet in a strong position.

A warm up game to this week’s session is to have one player adopt a “strong” rucking position. Another player then has to try to push them over while they stay strong.

This will demonstrate to your players just how strong a position they need to be effective when rucking.

Set-up

  1. Get in a low position by dropping the hips when approaching the ruck.
  2. Keep your head up and back straight, and look at the target.
  3. Drive into the target, forward and up.

What you get your players to do

Work the players in threes against a pad holder. Make a ball carrier drive into the pad holder and go to ground presenting the ball. The next player in gets low and drives up and into the pad, clearing it out so the third player can pick up the ball. Insist on good technique from the player clearing out. He should engage the target with his shoulder and aim to drive beyond the ball. Slow down the exercise if necessary.

Perfect position: the player’s back is straight, the head up and the hips low as he drives over the ball.

Perfect position: the player’s back is straight, the head up and the hips low as he drives over the ball.


Development

  • Hold a pole about two metres in front of the ruck pad. The clearing player has to be low enough to get under the pole before he reaches the ruck.
  • Add a second pad holder behind the first. The third player picks and drives into it and the other two players have to recycle themselves to clear the ruck.
Poor position: the player’s head and shoulders are below his hips meaning he can only go down from here.

Poor position: the player’s head and shoulders are below his hips meaning he can only go down from here.


Game situation

Ruck touch:

Split into equal teams and play touch rugby. When the ball carrier is touched he must go to ground and place the ball. The player who made the touch stands over him but cannot compete for the ball. The nearest attacking player must clear the tackler out of the way by driving him back. The next player then acts as scrum half to pass the ball away.

Make the bar lower than it would need to be in a game to reinforce the technique to players.

Make the bar lower than it would need to be in a game to reinforce the technique to players.


What to call out

  • “Shorten your stride as you approach the ruck”
  • “Drop your hips to get low, don’t bend your back”
  • “Keep your eyes on the target and drive beyond the ball”
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