VIDEO: Sharper ruck decisions


 Practise your tackle and post-tackle decision-making in a game-related activity.


When you call a colour

  • The ball carrier and tackler become live.
  • Support players round the coloured cone and then join the ruck/contact area.

Note: If you shout hands off, then they must take their hands off. Even if they’ve won/think they’ve won the ball.


  • Increase/decrease players.
  • Enlarge/reduce the box to:
    • – Favour the tackler bouncing to his feet looking to steal the ball.
    • – Increase/reduce tackle intensity (smaller grid = less momentum and as such a lower impact)
    • – Isolate the ball carrier from his support (he may need to fight to stay on his feet longer)/help the defence make turnovers.


Look for players make good decisions in and around the ruck, some examples are:

  • Tackler gets to feet and disrupts or steals opponents ball
  • Ball is lost but tackler is on his feet:
    • – So defence set guard behind the ruck and next defender bounces out.
    • – The tackler is not on feet so next defender sets guard.

Key points

Be strict on tackle height

As you can see we encountered some high tackles because of the proximity of players at the start.

  • Reaffirm they need to go low for safety and legality.
  • Concussions number one cause is high tackles

Allow them to play what unfolds in front of them, for example:

Even though it was not the intention of the exercise when offloads crept into the drill we allowed it – as it was an unforeseen solution to the exercise.

Ask players to work hard on communication, for example:

  • When to and who will counter ruck, ball carrier or support?
  • Who is guard?

Focus on body position post-contact, do they have:

  • Bent knees ready to meet opposition support players as they enter the ruck?
  • Are they supporting their own weight?
  • Is the chin up scanning ahead with a straight back?
  • What is the ball carrier doing on the ground?
    • Are they in a strong L shape?
    • Are they long?
    • Are they safe?
    • Are they placing the ball when the traffic is gone?
    • Can they release and get to their feet and play again?


As you can see we are doing this in fours, you may want to:

  • Run multiple drills at once (we have a reduced squad but if you have more players make sure you keep them active)
  • Ask those not involved to provide feedback.
  • Increase the group size and play attack defence off what unfolds.

This is an activity the Jordan Rugby Sevens Squad have been using to practise their tackle and post-tackle decision-making ahead of the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy in Singapore.

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