3 ways to keep rucking realistic

Train as you expect your team to play so players can take what they learn straight into matches. This is especially helpful with contact. Here are three ways to keep rucking real.

1 Start with a tackle

Most rucks are the result of a tackle. Tackles are dynamic contact situations where the ball carrier can end up in any number of positions.

Therefore, if you can set up a tackle situation first, then both arriving attackers and defenders will have to choose the right angle and timing to be effective.

Timing is a crucial decision-making element based on when the ball carrier actually makes it to the ground. Then it depends on how the ball carrier shapes his body to present the ball.

The tackle can be a simple 1v1 where both ball carrier and tackler start on their knees, to a 1v2 tackle in a 5m square.

2 Start from the right angles

When a player is tackled, the first two players to the breakdown in attack are normally coming from a position in line with the ball carrier. That means they will have to run back before they can go forward if the tackle is won by the defender or from an angle if the tackle is won by the attacker. The same is true in reverse for the defence.

In training, support players must be running from the side of the “tackle situation”, working hard to realign themselves to come into the ruck area.

3 Finish with real competition

Rucks are untidy physical battles. They are won with a combination of good technique and sheer hard work mixed with courage. No good player wants to give up his position over the ball so it becomes a competitive battle of wills. In which case, the more you can add in a competitive element in training the better.

Use scenarios to increase realism. For instance, recovering from a situation where the ball carrier has gone backwards, or the next ruck after a scrum or lineout. Mix up ruck pad holders with tackle suit wearers. Allow some players to go for the ball or limit the number of attackers or defenders. Then progress to full-on games in training.

Here are two sessions to work on being ruck realistic.


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