EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Ruck, support and pass

Winning the ruck is one thing. Timing runs from the back of the ruck is even harder. Here is a core session that works on players taking the pass from a ruck and going into a second contact situation with support. It works for the whole squad and builds on good rucking techniques.


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


What to think about

  • How do you want your players to ruck?

    A player can “ruck over” the ball and beyond, taking the defenders back from the tackled player. This works well if the referee is able to apply the laws effectively. Alternatively a player can “ruck and stop”, finishing over the ball. The ball is protected but not as cleanly presented as with the ruck over and beyond technique.
  • Should the scrum half always clear the ball?

    Younger players don’t have the same awareness as more experienced players, so it may be better to
    nominate only a couple of players to act as clearers, taking the scrum half role at rucks.

Set-up

  1. Drive into the tackler and then go to ground on your terms, to place the ball back far from your body.
  2. The first player after contact clears away any defenders and protects the ball.
  3. Scrum half: wait until you hear a call and then pass to the first receiver.
  4. Other players: fill the first and second receiver positions, with at least one other player close to the second receiver. Drive into contact and repeat the exercise.

What you get your players to do

Place two defenders level, but 10 metres apart. A ball carrier stands 5 metres in front of one defender, with a support player next to him. He drives into the defender, who tackles him but does not compete for the ball. The support player protects the ball. Now a scrum half clears the ball to a waiting receiver who passes on the ball to another two players. They repeat the process with the scrum half running across to clear the ball back to a different set of players.

The defenders stay in the same place as you work through your team.

The ball carrier goes into contact, as another player supports. Other players line up to support.

The ball carrier goes into contact, as another player supports. Other players line up to support.


Development

Vary the passes. Encourage the first receiver to pass the ball or run across and switch with the next set of support players, or even pass and loop and go into contact.

The 9 passes to the first receiver who passes onto another player who goes into contact.

The 9 passes to the first receiver who passes onto another player who goes into contact.


Game situation

Set up 8 attackers against 5 defenders. Vary how the defence reacts, with first a “passive” defence, which makes tackles but doesn’t compete for the ball on the ground. Then make the defence more aggressive and finally allow them to creep offside.

The first receiver runs across and switches back to a second receiver who goes into contact.

The first receiver runs across and switches back to a second receiver who goes into contact.


What to call out

  • “Call early for passes”
  • “Hold your positions until the scrum half ‘dips’ to pass the ball”
  • “Tackled player: don’t go down until you feel the support player on your shoulder”
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