Shuffling and cross-over steps are essential skills for a defender to react to a change of direction of an attacker. Work on these in the development of your players’ tackling progression. MORE
Minis and juniors: Ruck testing
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.
Putting the spotlight on players helps understand where they are at with their development. This exercise can also create confidence because if a player is forced to ruck and finds success he may build on this in games.
- Put a ball carrier and defender on one knee about 1m apart facing each other, just by the side of a ruck pad.
- Put another attacker and defender at each corner, behind their team mates.
- When the ball carrier moves, the game is live.
- The ball carrier aims to beat the defender to get to the other end.
- At the same time the other players come into support.
- There’s no passing.
- Stop when a try is scored, an infringement made or the ball is secured for the attack or defence.
- Referee each situation carefully.
- Rotate players regularly.
- Progress by changing the start point of the supporting attacker and defender.
- Finally, finish with two supporting attackers and defenders, releasing none, one or two of each when the ball carrier starts.
- Ball carrier, fight to the ground before placing the ball back.
- Supporting players, arrive square, stay on your feet, but get lower than opposite man