Ruck, ruck, ruck

By Paul Tyler, Scottish Rugby Union level 3 qualified coach, former SRU rugby development officer and a qualified referee

Overview

This session will increase player awareness of the importance of recycling the ball and their ability to do it. It will also develop organisational and decision making abilities to get players in the right positions to win a series of rucks.

Set-up

Mark out a channel 15m wide and 20m long. Use different coloured cones every 5m along the channel. The attacking team starts with the defenders 5m away. Start with eight attackers (and a scrum half) and six defenders (see picture 1).

Ruck, Ruck, Ruck

What you get your players to do

Start with the scrum half feeding a runner. The attacking team has to ruck its way up the channel as far as it can without losing possession. The defenders can compete for the ball and can commit as many players as they want to each ruck. The attacking team gets five points for every five metres gained, and mauls are not allowed; the ball carrier must get to ground as quickly as possible and create a ruck (see picture 2).

Encourage

Attacking players clearing rucks dynamically and aggressively. Players getting up off the ground quickly and back in position to attack. The ball carrier fighting to get to ground quickly to set up the ruck.

Development

Add four more defenders but the defending team can now only commit a maximum of three players to a ruck and cannot compete for the ball on the ground (see picture 3).

Notes

Continuous rucking requires discipline, teamwork and organisation which can only be achieved by making training as realistic as possible. Get players who will play together to train together so they can get used to each others’ way of playing and develop a strong understanding.