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
Twist and maul
Use this technique to create dynamic mini mauls. The ball carrier attacks a defender, turns just before the contact, and moves the ball to a support player. If he can, the support player must twist away, or he can drive the ball carrier forward in a mini maul.
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 ball carrier should be controlled in the contact area. He should not turn too early or he is likely to expose his back.
It is best for him to step into contact and then turn. It is best if the support player rips down on the ball. To do this he must put his top arm and hand over the ball, while being held by the ball carrier, and pull the ball down into his own stomach.
Players will probably use their dominant hand to do this, so do not get too worried about positioning.
Safety of the ball comes first, not exact shoulder and foot co-ordination.
- Ball carrier: Turn in contact and keep the ball away from the opposition. Allow the support player to bind and rip the ball away.
- Support player: Tell the ball carrier to turn then rip the ball and twist away or drive the ball carrier forward.
What you get your players to do
Put a ruck pad holder about 2m away from a ball carrier. The ball carrier walks into the ruck pad, turns and presents the ball securely to a support player.
Meanwhile, the support player, who starts about 1m behind the ball carrier, shouts for the ball carrier to turn. He then rips the ball away, twisting 360 degrees and runs off. Have another pair go into the pad and repeat, before turning the pad player around and having the players come back.
- Put the players further apart.
- Have the ball carrier and support player drive the pad holder backwards before ripping and twisting.
- Have the support player initially pass the ball to the player who takes contact, before forming the maul and twist.
- Remove the ruck pad from the holder.
Split into teams of four or five. Put two teams in the box. Play “grab” tackle rugby. If the ball carrier is grabbed, he must turn and have the ball ripped off him, or he can be driven forward. If he stops, he has two seconds to release the ball. Allow only one pass after each tackle.
Turn over the ball for any infringements. Play for one minute and then swap sides.
What to call out
- “Step into contact as you turn”
- “Keep the ball safe – don’t extend your arms because the defender might dislodge the ball”