Rugby coaching tips on when to ruck or maul

But it is not possible to maul everywhere on the field, and your team might not be a good mauling side either. It is also worth noting that rucks are often a consequence of a good tackle. Here is a guide of when to ruck and when to maul.

How does your team decide when it wants to ruck or when it wants to maul the ball?

Deciding when to use mauls or rucks for your squad is dependent on a number of factors.

  • The body position and forward momentum of the ball carrier.
  • What the ball carrier is able to do in contact.
  • The speed of your support players getting to the contact point.
  • The number of support players you have at the contact point.
  • The speed that the ball is recycled.

You need to coach your players to play with both rucks and mauls. You need a variety of techniques at the breakdown so you can pressurise different types of opposition.

The maul has been heavily used in recent years, especially from lineouts. The Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) that allowed the defence to collapse the maul did limit its use for a while, but the International Rugby Board (IRB) has now decided to, once again, ban the defence from bringing down mauls (speak to your local union for more details).

Simple rules to set up mauls

If you are going to maul, then there are two simple rules
about when is a good time to set up a maul.

  • Maul from a set piece. A catch and drive from a lineout is the most common time to use a maul.
  • Maul from slow ruck ball. This will give your players time to set themselves. It should give a dynamic platform to work from because it will be moving forward.

The running ruck

As an alternative, look at combining the maul and ruck into a “running ruck”. The running ruck is where a group of players make contact with the defence, stay on their feet, keep the ball secure, and drive forward until they are brought to ground. This all happens dynamically.

The key factor to this is the original ball carrier. He must fight to stay on his feet, go forward with powerful leg drive and keep the ball secure and away from the defence.

As the support arrives, it is tight and dynamic, moving the ball to the back of the “running ruck”. If the running ruck is dropped, the players at the back can explode off the side and continue the attack.

This article is from Rugby Coach Weekly.

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