EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Quicker ruck ball guaranteed

If all your players follow this session, you will win quicker ruck ball – I guarantee it. The idea behind the session is simple. The more players who arrive in the contact area at below the hip height of a standing player, the more effective your team’s rucking will be.


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

From my observations of less experienced players over the last twenty years, picturing in their minds the right height at contact is crucial. If those players can drive into a contact situation below the hip height of a normal standing player they will improve their chances of winning that contact. It could be with ball in hand, or into a ruck or maul situation.

If you can see a head poking up in any contact situation, you know that player is unlikely to be making a valuable contribution. Dubbed “contact inspectors” by some coaches, these players have a habit of looking in, but doing nothing.

The head leads the way through contact. If the head faces down, then that is the likely destination for the body too.

Set-up

  1. Aim to take contact at below-the-hip height of a standing opponent.
  2. Bend at the knees and hips so you are not stooping to take contact.
  3. Always look ahead and stay on your feet.

What you get your players to do

Stand next to one of your averaged-sized players. Show the other players the correct height for contact.

Then, split the players into groups of three. Position two of them half a metre apart and backto- back. Put the other player a metre away.

On your shout of “GO”, the lone player, the “driver”, drives both his shoulders into the thighs of the standing players. He should remain balanced and put his head into the gap between them to do this. Swap and repeat.

The player drives into the side of two players standing back-to-back.

The player drives into the side of two players standing back-to-back.


Development

Set up two players each crouched over a ball, as shown in the middle picture. A third player, the “driver”, runs into the box and through the cones. Point to which player he should aim at once he has begun his run. The driver must turn and drive that player away from the ball.

Once complete, the players swap places and the exercise continues.

A player runs through the cones. You point to which other player he will drive back. The driving player needs to get the body height right.

A player runs through the cones. You point to which other player he will drive back. The driving player needs to get the body height right.


Game situation

Split into teams of three or four. Put the players into a box, make them lie down and throw the ball to one of the teams. The players scramble to their feet and play normal rugby (albeit in a very small space).

Any player who does not choose the right body position for contact is “sin binned” for 30 seconds. Play for two minutes restarting on the ground again for tries or infringements, and then change teams.

Starting from a lying position, the two teams play normal rugby for two minutes. Any player who is the wrong height in rucks is “sin binned”.

Starting from a lying position, the two teams play normal rugby for two minutes. Any player who is the wrong height in rucks is “sin binned”.


What to call out

  • “Get under the shoulders of your opponent”
  • “Keep driving forward in contact”
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