Rugby drill to coach safe rucking

What you tell your players the drill session is about

  • Developing safe and effective body positions for rucking.
  • Targeting opposition players accurately at rucks and clearing them beyond the ball.

What to think about in the rucking drill

One of the most important considerations when coaching rugby players is safety. You shouldn’t do anything in training without first considering the potential dangers.

Most of the dangers can be minimised by coaching players the correct technique in a safe and controlled environment. Rucking is all about stability and being able to stay on your feet in a strong position.

A warm-up game to coaching safe rucking is to have one player adopt a “strong” rucking position. Another player then has to try to push them over while they stay strong. This will demonstrate to your players just how strong a position they need to be effective when rucking.

What you tell your players to do

  • Get low by dropping the hips when approaching the ruck.
  • Keep your head up and back straight, and look at the target.
  • Drive into the target, forward and up.

What you get your players to do in the drill

  • Work the players in threes against a pad holder. Make a ball carrier drive into the pad holder and go to ground presenting the ball.
  • The next player in gets low and drives up and into the pad, clearing it out so the third player can pick up the ball. Insist on good technique from the player clearing out.
  • He should engage the target with his shoulder and aim to drive beyond the ball. Slow down the exercise if necessary.

What to call out in the drill

  • “Shorten your stride as you approach the ruck.”
  • “Drop your hips to get low, don’t bend your back.”
  • “Keep your eyes on the target and drive beyond the ball.”

Rugby drill to coach safe and effective rucking skills
Develop the rucking drill

Hold a pole about two metres in front of the ruck pad. The clearing player has to be low enough to get under the pole before he reaches the ruck.

Add a second pad holder behind the first. The third player picks and drives into it and the other two players have to recycle themselves to clear the ruck.

Put the drill skills into a game situation

Ruck touch: Split into equal teams and play touch rugby. When the ball carrier is touched, he must go to ground and place the ball. The player who made the touch stands over him but cannot compete for the ball.

The nearest attacking player must clear the tackler out of the way by driving him back. The next player then acts as scrum half to pass the ball away.

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