First in clears the threat

The first support player at the ruck needs to decide whether to clear out a threat and, if so, which technique to use. Start by developing three key techniques, then put them into a game situation.

Work on skills at a low pressure, then relate them to the game as soon as you can.

Work on the ruck clearing skills shown above:

  1. Driving out of a threat
  2. Clearing a low player
  3. Rolling away a defender lying on or near the ball

  1. Next, play touch. Overload the attack (say, 8 v 6).
  2. If touched, the carrier must pass within 1 second or go to ground.
  3. The first support player passes the ball away.
  4. Swap players around after a couple of minutes.

  1. Finally, put half the defenders in bibs – they can challenge for the ball on the ground.
  2. The attackers have to clear these threats.
  3. Condition one of the bibbed players to sometimes lie on top of the “tackled” player.
  4. Again, play for a couple of minutes before swapping players around.


  • Normal clear-out (1): drive into the ruck-pad holder at waist height, hips square, with legs pumping
  • Low clear-out (2): use the arms and legs as levers to push and pull the threat away from the ball
  • Lying defender clear-out (3): get under their body and roll
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