Embedding your ruck policies

Do you want your players stopping at the ball or going beyond it? Whatever your tactics, everyone should know their role and be able to perform under pressure. This decision-making exercise will help achieve that.

Identify the roles of the first and second support players to the ruck. Then test out these policies so players can have a choice on match day.

  1. Set up the ruck-pad holders in a 10m by 10m box, with four attackers in the middle.
  2. The ruck-pad holders should all be facing in the same direction.

  1. Call out which ruck pad to “clear” and at least two of the attackers must run to that pad and follow through the policies you’ve identified.
  2. The players return to the middle and you call out another pad. Repeat several times, then swap the pad holders with the attackers.
  3. In the diagram above: The first clears out, second player centres (stays over ball). Or both players clear out. Or both players stay over the ball.

  1. Develop by having another ruck-pad holder go to challenge for the ball.
  2. Finally, remove the balls and pads, and have another attacker with a ball in the middle.
  3. He runs to the defender indicated, gets tackled, and the attackers run to the situation along with another nominated defender.


  • To clear out (or blow out): go from low to high and keep the legs pumping
  • To centre: get your hips over the ball and in a low position ready to repel defenders coming forward
  • Square up before coming through the tackle gate.



Share this
Follow us