Rugby drills to boost ruck defensive skills

What you tell your players to do in the drills

When you are defending at rucks:

  • Set yourself low in a “three-point stance” – both feet set, one hand down on the ground, eyes looking up – one step outside the edge of the ruck.
  • Once the ball carrier breaks from the ruck, drive into them under their chest, then keep driving them back.

What you get your players to do

Rugby warm-up drill

  • Have your players run around in a 10m box.
  • “Name” its four sides.
  • You stand in the middle, with your foot on a ball.
  • When you shout out the “name” of one of the sides, your players run to this side of the box and take up a three-point stance facing into the box.
  • When you then touch the ball with your hand, your players must move forward three metres, keeping low, before returning to jogging around the box.

The practice

  • Lay a contact pad (or cones) five metres from a parallel line.
  • The length of the pad (or the distance between the cones) represents the length of a ruck.
    A defender, the “guard dog”, runs and takes up a three-point stance at one end of the pad.
  • An attacker stands by a ball at the other end of the pad.
  • When the attacker “picks and goes” the defender moves forwards and drives him into the pad.
  • Build the intensity with the ball carrier going from a walk into a full-blown attack.

The Ruck and How to Win It is a valuable rugby coaching resource to help you boost your team’s defensive capabilities at the breakdown. Click here to order a copy.

Click here for more rugby drills to boost core ruck skills.

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