EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Activities, sessions and drills to work on mauls in open play

Most mauls start from a lineout. However, they can still be formed in open play, sometimes by design and sometimes by accident.

The mauls laws have changed slightly over the last year, but the principles remain the same. A maul is a ball carrier and teammate being held by a defender. Note that it’s not a maul until the attacking teammate binds on, no matter how many defenders are surrounding the ball carrier.

The first area to consider is whether the ball carrier wants to start a maul or not. The session from our EasiCoach Skills curriculum, Keep the ball alive in contact, looks at the main options, with a maul just one of those.

Once set, the maul needs to be solid and dynamic. That’s not an easy combination to mix together effectively, so we have two session plans to work on this. Solid maul works on the ball carrier staying on their feet and then the maul itself remaining active.

Dynamic maul aims to make the maul move forward. In a match, once the maul stops, the referee will ask for it to move again or for the ball to be moved away from the maul. This is a great forwards session, with lots of low-level contact, and a big emphasis on body positions.

Our final activity looks at ripping the ball out of an attacker’s grasp. This is a good way to stop a maul and create a potential turnover to play from. Winning the ball back is a good warm-up exercise as a prelude to the previous two sessions.

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