Introduce players of mixed ability to contact by building up the skills through games and questioning. I’ve found that using this progression of activity, the players develop contact skills together. You can adjust the pitch sizes and timings to suit your players. MORE
Ruck, ruck, ruck
Get rucking. This session will make your players ruck more than they will in a game, so they will be more than match ready. They will have to ruck fast, efficiently and when they are tired. The session takes place in a square, so players cannot arrive from the wrong angle or side.
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
It is worth starting this session at walking pace. Make sure the player who is clearing out looks to do the following:
- Get over the ball.
- Drive in at a slight angle so he can unbalance the threat over the ball.
- If the defender has his hands on the ball, the rucker either “breaks the window pane” by going through the gap in the arms OR by squeezing in the arms and twisting them.
Ensure players maintain their technique when they are tired. This will be hard. You can check by watching the height of their hips and shoulders at the contact area.
- Clear out the defender who is over the ball.
- Make sure you have got your shoulders and hips lower than the defender.
- Use different techniques to ruck, depending on how the defender is set up.
What you get your players to do
Through continuous practice, your aim is to maintain your players’ rucking technique even when they are tired.
Set out the defenders with balls as in the middle picture. Give each one a letter and place an attacker in the middle. Shout out a letter. The relevant defender leans over the ball, with their hands on it or nearby. The attacker moves in and clears out the player.
Repeat three times before swapping the attacker. Rotate the defenders and attacker regularly. Check carefully that good technique is maintained.
Spread out four attackers around the edges of the same box with the same defenders.
Shout out a letter and the attackers have to enter the box, win the ball and pick and go. The defenders who are not involved can move around to help the player over the ball.
Swap defenders and attackers.
Split into teams of five players. Put two teams in a 20m square and allocate each one a try line. Have both teams stand anywhere around the square. Throw the ball to one player, who passes to the opposition. The receiver falls to the ground and the passer challenges for the ball.
The receiver’s team clear out the passer whilst the passer’s team run to their try line before coming back to defend. Play until a try is scored or there is an infringement, and then swap roles.
What to call out
- “Lowest man wins”
- “Stay on your feet through the contact area”
- “Drive over the ball”