Good ball placement is non-negotiable. It reduces the risk of a turnover, allows the next players to clear threats quickly and enables the 9 to clear the ball fast. Use this activity to get it spot on. MORE
Busy, busy ball presentation
No matter how a player is tackled, placing the ball back is a matter of timing. Once it’s placed, it’s fair game for the opposition – so keep active for longer in the first of our core series on winning the ruck.
Ball presentation is a vital part of winning clean ruck ball. The more difficult the ball carrier makes it for the opposition to have a go at the ball, the easier it is for your team’s supporting players to arrive and clear away any threats.
GETTING DOWN TO BASICS
Let’s assume your ball carrier has done everything in his power to break the tackle. He’s also kept the ball away from the tackler, perhaps using a fend as well.
Now he has to accept that he’ll go to ground. But he mustn’t stop being active as he falls. He’s twisting and turning his body, giving any assisting tackler less opportunity to line up what he’s going to target.
ONE BITE AT THE CHERRY
Unless the ball carrier is thoroughly isolated, any defender going for the ball has probably one opportunity to steal. He has to commit himself to lean forward to go for the ball.
If he’s inaccurate – that is, his hands are too far from the ball – it will take time for him to right himself and go again. That will be enough time for the supporting players to clear him out when he’s a weak position.
However, if the defender manages to get over the ball, hands on and in a strong, low position, the chances are that the ball will be stolen or a penalty given.
THREE WAYS TO COUNTER
To create a tougher target for the opposition, the tackled player can use one of three techniques:
- Be busy, busy, busy with the ball. He keeps his body and the ball moving all the time before eventually placing it. He might twist one way and then the next as his hips touch the ground, or he might roll over once.
- He doesn’t actually place the ball until the support player arrives. So, he places it simultaneous to the contact above him.
- He places it as far away from the opposition as possible. My two exercises work on different aspects of placing the ball:
Use these exercises below, where I examine methods and intensity and look at executing under pressure from a defender.