EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Forwards’ position-specific rucking

Here’s how you can mix up your training session when you are working with the forwards to ensure they concentrate on the rucking techniques they are most likely to use.

Forwards will ruck more than backs. When splitting into units, you should take this chance to give each position some specific work-on areas to focus on which will give you the best return at the ruck area.

FRONT ROWS

Front rows should target defenders over the ball on the far side of the ruck. Then, they should drive that defender back in towards the ruck. That should take this defender away opening a path for the 9 or another forward to pick and go.

With a robust contact, the defender will be rocked backwards and will find it harder to get back into the game to defend on the side where the ball is likely to go next.

Use this exercise to work on this type of technique.

BACK ROW

The back row players can work on two particular areas of the game.

The first is winning the race to the ruck. They have to anticipate the shortest line to the next ruck.

Second, they should target the appendages like the arms and legs, to remove them from the area over the ball. It’s hard for the defender to grab the ball with just one hand, so the back rower should aim to take one of them away from the ball. The referee won’t look so kindly on a player who is trying to scoop the ball away with one hand either.

Also, more defenders at the ruck are now trying to disrupt the ball by kicking it. Taking away a leg with prevent this happening so often.

Use this activity and game to work on these skills.

LOCK FORWARDS

Lock forwards tend to be the tallest players in the team, so they will have to drop their height as they approach the ruck area. This will mean a wider base, and bending at the knees and hips.

When they do engage, they should stay “long”, which means going forward, driving their legs and staying on their feet. They should keep their shoulders above their hips and their backs straight.

Given their relative height to the rucks, this isn’t a natural height to operate at. If they don’t get this right, they are like tall buildings when they topple over. They will need to keep propelling themselves forward in contact.

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