VIDEO: Ruck retiring

Not all rucks form when a team is going forward. Sometimes, you have to regroup to win the next ruck which is behind the play. This activity recreates these scenarios by first ensuring that the players reload for the next ruck quickly and effectively. This is an ideal warm-up activity for all the players.


  1. Put three pairs of ruck-pad holders about 8m apart.
  2. Put about three players opposite the first pair of pad holders. Then put a first receiver and another group of three players opposite the next pair.
  3. The feeder passes the ball to the first set of three, who go into the pads and recycle the ball.
  4. Repeat this with the second group, this time playing off a first receiver.
  5. Finally, the first group of three recover to attack the last group of pads.
  6. Though all the players need to work hard to be efficient in their skills around the breakdown, the focus is on the work of the first group to reload and attack on their second contact.


Remove one of the pads, and the extra player tries to steal the ball.

Work back from the second contact, so the play goes right then left.

Develop short pass plays to vary the point of contact. For example, a short pass inside or outside the first receiver.

Make the fourth “play” against more active defence, trying to beat them without taking contact or creating mismatches and offloads.


  • Don’t drive into a pad, try to attack the edges.
  • Supporting players, identify the threats to the ball and drive them backwards.
  • Create pace onto the ball by retiring to come forward.
  • Get square in attack. That is, hips and shoulders up the pitch.

Here are some more activities to support this session…

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