Put your slow ball ruck plays into more game-like situations. This wrap play exercise is a good starting point, and you can then use it to develop other tactics. A wrap play turns slow ball into quick ball and allows your 9 to recycle it at pace. MORE
Smack and grab
This is a high-intensity, physical session that works on ruck and tackle contest techniques. It is ideal as a part of a pre-season programme once you have established your rucking policies. It encourages players to work hard in support and when they are fatigued. Poor technique will be easily recognised.
Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-8
What to think about
You can run this as a multi-activity with some players working on techniques and others in small-sided games. For instance, each group works for five minutes and then changes. Groups of five are the best combinations.
- Attack the contact area head-on, whatever angle you approach it .
- Stay low, stay on your feet and stay active through the contact area.
- Work the ball before you go to ground to keep it alive and away from the defenders.
What you get your players to do
In a 5m square, put three attackers, one with a ball, between two ruck pad holders . The ball carrier steps in and out of the middle cones before driving into the ruck pad holder, going to ground and presenting the ball.
The other two attackers run around the cones at the side and then run to clear the ruck pad holder out before retrieving the ball. They turn and repeat (see picture 1). Work for at least a minute before swapping pad holders for attackers.
In groups of five get two attackers to run around the cones and then around to clear a ruck pad holder who has the pad over the ball. The first attacker must get very low and drive the pad holder back (see picture 2).
Once successful, the second pair come in while the first pair recover and reset. Work for at least a minute before swapping the ruck pad holder.
Split into groups of five. Play a 3v2 attacking overload in the 10m x 5m box. Every infringement or try means both groups return to the end of their box to restart. Rotate one attacker and defender every two minutes.
In the 10m square play the same, but as a 4v6 defensive overload. Do not allow more than three defenders into each ruck. Swap two attackers and defenders every two minutes.
What to call out
- “Keep upright before contact, then swoop and drive”
- “Talk to the ball carrier to tell him when to go to ground and when the present the ball”
- “Clear threats up and away, not up and backwards if you can”