EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Introduction to “rucks” session

First time for rucks, or even the second season of rucking? Then use this session to get your players thinking and then playing contact in the right way.

AIM OF THE SESSION

The ruck contest – first ensure the players are using the best ball placement, then demonstrate the role of one player going over the ball on the ground.

EQUIPMENT AND PITCHES

  • One ball per 8 players, one box of 20-30m per 8 players.
  • Ideally, you will play 4 v 4 in a box, but go up to 6 v 6 (and make the box bigger).

TOP TIPS

  1. Focus on two to three key new laws only in the first session. Let the others reveal themselves.
  2. Get into simple non-contact games quickly to which you can add the new laws.
  3. “Chalkboard” new laws in short, sharp demos, practise them in isolation for five minutes and then back into the games.
  4. Load the start of the session with the key information because the players will be tired by the second half.

HOW THE SESSION WORKS

1  Play 4 v 4 touch rugby where the ball carrier has to put the ball between his legs once touched.

2  Then progress so he has to go to ground before the ball is passed. Be extremely tough on offsides.

3  Then demonstrate good ball placement (which is hopefully revision).

4  Go back to touch rugby but have turnovers for poor ball placement.

5  Then demonstrate one man over the ball at the ruck.

6  Go back to the game, but the attack must have one man over the prone player before the pass. Endless touches, but again have turnovers for poor technique.

7  Then demonstrate one v one rucks. Here, you could have an exercise where players practise one v one rucks.

8  Then go back to the game, but there’s a contest for the ball after a touch.

Depending on where you are in your season, you can choose whether to introduce scrums into this session at this stage. Or more formally in the next session. Probably best at the start of the next session though, using touch rugby where infringements lead to scrums.

Also, you can introduce the concept of a maul into the next session. Play a game of 3 v 3 in a small area, with players allowed to grab the ball.

TIMINGS

Play each game for at least five minutes. Don’t worry if the players do not perfect the skill quickly. You are simply trying to build awareness at this stage.

The demonstrations should certainly be no more than five minutes and less if possible.

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