Better ruck decision making

From Rugby Coach Weekly

Don’t waste your ruck bullets. Make sure your players know when to “shoot” at the ruck, and when to leave it alone. Start the process by making them understand when and where the threat to the ruck is going to happen, so they can judge what the best action is.

Why use it

You want enough players to win quick ball without compromising your chances to launch effective counter attacks.

Set up

A 10m square, two ruck pads and a ball.

Better ruck decision making

How to do it

Put a feeder (F) and receiver (BC) 5m apart, with a tackler (T) 2m in front of BC. Put support players A1 and A2 inside and outside BC and a ruck pad holder either side of T, acting as inside and outside defenders. F passes to BC who takes on T (see picture 1). Indicate whether you want one, two or no ruck pad holders to come in over the ball. A1 and A2 then decide whether they need to come in to take out their respective defender (see picture 2). If no defender comes in, then A1 comes in to clear the ball to A2 (see picture 3). Develop by changing the starting points of defenders and supporters and removing one or both of the ruck pads from the holders.


  • Good placement essential from BC. Ideally he falls and presents away from the inside defender (so his backside is facing that defender).
  • A1 and A2 run “L-shaped” lines to be able to square up to go through the tackle gate to clear out any defender

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