Coaching your rugby players in winning quick rucks

What you tell your players to do in the drill

  • The tackled player – keep driving forward and deliver the ball as far from your body as possible.
  • First supporter – drive over and “sit over” the ball in a strong stance.

What to shout

  • “Keep your head up and shoulders hunched in contact.”
  • “Bend at the hips and knees and not through the back.”
  • “Go to ground with two hands on the ball and place the ball.”
  • “Work hard through the tackle to give the next player a better target.”

What to look for in this rugby drill

Players looking down in the contact area. They must not expose their neck. Make sure they “sit” over the contact area in a position to drive forward.

The ball carrier taking the contact first. Players must keep the ball away from the contact point and, if at all possible, have two hands on the ball in close contact.

What to think about

In this rugby drill, communication between the ball carrier and first support player is important. What should the supporter be shouting to help the ball carrier? Do your players know the Laws of the ruck and tackle area?

Check that your players understand that a ruck is formed by a player from each team being bound over the ball. Also note that players must endeavour to stay on their feet and not rest on the player on the ground.

What you get your players to do in this rugby drill

Using ruck pads on the ground (two cones spread an arm’s distance apart can be used as an alternative), a player runs forward and flips over the ruck pad and runs back.

Start this rugby coaching drill slowly to check for good positioning. Add a ball just before the ruck pad to help players avoid kicking the ball forward.

Coaching players to win rucks

Develop the drill

  • Develop the drill by having a ball carrier running at a static defender. The ball carrier has to drive through the defender and  present the ball. A support player then has to protect the ball while a further defender competes for it.
  • Have an additional attacker who picks up the ball.
  • Give the players a time limit to go to ground and clear the ball (say three seconds).

How would I put this drill into a game situation?

Mark out a 30m square. Divide your team into two sets of four attackers and one set of four defenders. The first attacking team lie on the ground in the middle of the square with a ball to their left.

The defending team lie opposite them, but spread out. When you blow the whistle, the attackers have to pick up the ball and try to beat the defenders, by moving left initially.

After 10 seconds, release the other set of attackers. The attacking team loses if they concede possession, infringe or do not recycle the ball within three seconds from a ruck. Vary the sides and width of the pitch regularly to explore the game situations.

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