See how well individuals react under pressure at the ruck with this decision-making activity and progression. It isolates ball presentation and 1 v 1 ruck skills. It’s intensive, so only needs to last ten minutes. MORE
Build the maul from good individual body positions into a collective force rumbling forward. Each player needs to understand their roles in the maul and this session gives the players different situations to work on their mauling. This session follows on from Session 149 “Maul it”.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 10-15
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
Some players can be apprehensive going into contact. Using ruck pads and pairing up the players can help build a solid base of confidence. Make sure you are clever with your pairing as regards size and ability of the players – it really helps a smaller player to have a bigger aggressive partner.
Let the players have several attempts before highlighting out technical points. Sometimes they may be able to work out things for themselves. Or, by giving them the chance to watch other pairs in action they can see how to drive, rumble, spin and run through the defenders.
- React to your team mate’s body position.
- Stay low and balanced as you rumble forward.
- If stopped use leg drive or spin off defenders onto the next one.
- If you stay clamped together you have twice the force of a single player.
What you get your players to do
Split your players into pairs each with a ball. Give six defenders a ruck pad each and stand them in a diagonal alignment one metre apart. Have each pair of players attack the first pad, with the ball carrier leading and making the initial contact. His team mate immediately drives in to support the ball carrier and also gets his hands on the ball. From this point the attacking pair rumbles their way forward, driving, rolling and aggressively knocking each ruck pad back and gaining confidence and contact skills.
Add a third attacking player, before adding a fourth and fifth. With these extra players the contact situation will turn more into a rumbling maul.
Ask the players to now get the ball to the back of the maul and score at the far side of the practice area, either by driving the maul or rolling off the maul and scoring.
Put four pad holders in a zigzag channel. Have five or more players drive through this channel with no passing, only mauling. They restart if they go outside the channel. This will improve their ability to control the situation and to work together as a group.
Split into two teams of eight players. Conventional passing is not allowed, however, players can hand the ball to each other. The aim is to score at the far end of the pitch, using driving, rolling and running. Because there is no passing and the pitch is narrow, plenty of contact will take place, thus leading to contact and mauling.
What to call out
- “Talk to each other”
- “Get low and powerful”
- “Feet apart at contact, small driving steps”