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
Seek, speak and support
The role of the second player arriving at contact is crucial. It involves one of the trickiest, yet frequent, decision-making situations in the game. To help make the right decision and to keep momentum going forward, players must communicate.
Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7
What to think about
The best supporting players communicate with the ball carrier as he goes into contact. They will tell him to keep on his feet if they want to maul or to drive on so they can provide support for a pop pass or ruck.
In training you should encourage players to communicate with the ball carrier as much as possible.
Before the main session starts, walk through the different roles you want to perform at each cone.
- Ball carrier: ball security comes first, so both hands on the ball in contact.
- Ball carrier: listen to the instructions.
- Support player: give the ball carrier instructions.
- Support player: identify your role and secure the ball.
What you get your players to do
Set up each group of four players as in the top picture. Give a ball to the middle attacker. Tell him which cone to run to. The nearest player runs forward to support.
As the ball carrier starts, shout out which exercise to perform. If it is a maul or a clear out, then the ruck pad holder moves to the cone as well. Otherwise the ball carrier goes to ground at the nominated cone.
- Shout out which cone and make the support player shout out what he wants the ball carrier to do.
- Take away the ruck pad.
- Make the defender more active in the contact area, or delay his run to the designated cone.
Use five attackers and three defenders. Put the attackers in a line across one end of the box. They pass the ball up and down the line until you shout “GO”.
The attacker with the ball runs forward and tries to beat the defensive line. He cannot pass the ball until after the first tackle is completed. Use full tackling. Condition the defenders to go in as one, two or three players at the contact.
What to call out
- “Ball carrier: present the ball securely”
- “Support player: talk to the ball carrier”
- “Both players, low, dynamic (that is able to drive forward) body positions in contact”