Rucking and Mauling

It's important rugby players realise that once they are on the pitch, the number on their shirt is not important. They all have to tackle, they all have to ruck and they all have to maul. They all have to do the hard work needed to retain or win the ball, hold out the opposition or drive over for a try.

  • Coaching tips for more effective rucking - Use these five tips to spruce up your players' rucking skills and techniques to ensure quicker ball.


  • Tips and tactics to disrupt a maul - The maul is a potent attacking weapon. It saps the defence's energy and spirit, while giving attackers space and scoring opportunities. See the following rugby coaching tips for what can and can't be done.


  • Secrets of the maul - Understanding the complex maul laws is the key to avoiding penalties being awarded against you.


  • Six tips to winning quicker ruck ball - Quick ball means a chance to run at a less organised defence. But if your team simply can't produce the sort of ball your scrum half needs, here are some rugby coaching tips to cure the problem.


  • How to make decisions at the ruck situation - Decision making at the ruck situation causes rugby coaches the most headaches. Here are some soothing rugby coaching solutions.


  • Clearing and parking - A great way to coach your rugby players to retain possession in contact.


  • Quick ruck ball rugby coaching tips - The five golden rules for winning quick ruck ball.


  • Get players making quick ruck scan - Rugby coaching tips to get players making better, quicker decisions at the ruck.


  • Rugby drill to get players ruck fit - How the "crunch" can increase your rugby players' work rate.


  • Dealing with the ruck poacher - This rugby drill is about coaching players to clean out defenders at the ruck more effectively, both to secure the ball and to make it available more quickly.


  • Ruck law basics - The basic ruck laws that every rugby player simply has to know.


  • Competitive rugby rucking game - This 3-away game is an ultra competitive game, that creates situations where a slow ruck needs to be followed by a quick ruck and fast hands.


  • Rugby drill to recycle the ball working in small groups - Keeping the ball alive is one of the principles of rugby and although we may like our teams to pass before contact, the reality is they are frequently going to have to ruck. In the modern game, better teams employ groups of players known as "pods" to work together to support and clear the tackle contest.


  • Rugby drills to boost core ruck skills - The following rugby drills aim to improve your players' ability to drive out opponents from the ruck. The objective is to secure quicker, better quality ball for your scrum half.


  • Ruck tackle turning drills - "Pick and go," the act of a forward scooping up the ball at the back of ruck and attacking the nearest defender, is becoming more common. In return, defences are becoming more sophisticated in dealing with this type of manoeuvre. Use these drills and coaching tips to advance your players' skills.


  • Rugby drill to help players be lethal at the ruck - If your team wins quick ruck ball, there is very little time to weigh up the options, make a decision, then execute the correct one. If players delay too long, the defence will have re-organised and the opportunity will have gone. Use the following rugby drill session to give your team three set options and the triggers to look for when decision making.


  • Rugby drill session to get players rucking from unusual situations - This rugby drill session is all about improving your players' rucking from unusual situations. The body positions the players take up are vital.


  • Rugby drills for cleaning out rucks - With more than 100 rucks in a rugby game, your team needs to be able to secure quick ball or disrupt the opposition ball using strength and aggression - but it requires good technique.


  • Rugby drills to boost ruck defensive skills - If your players have problems defending at the ruck, you may need to create some "guard dogs" to prevent the attacking team either gaining ground or getting quick ball. Better "guard dogs" will frequently win you turnover ball too. Use these rugby drills to boost ruck defensive skills.


  • Rugby fitness drill for forwards - You need strong, powerful players to maul, ruck and scrummage effectively. Use these rugby coaching tips to get your forwards into shape to stand up the pressures of the modern game.


  • Ruck triangle rugby drill - This rugby coaching drill session works on lots of different ruck situations in a short space of time. The triangle of rucks allows you to create new angles of approach for your players and tests their rucking technique under pressure. Look carefully for effective entry points into the ruck.


  • Develop contact confidence in young rugby players - It is vital we get younger rugby players confident to take and make contact. Use these fun rugby drills to help.


  • Rugby drill to coach safe rucking - Safe rucking equals good rucking. This rugby drill session helps players get the idea that arriving at the ruck with a good body position will give them more power at the contact and will keep them on their feet. This low to high movement is like a plane taking off.


  • Rugby drill for a nutmeg at rucks - This move, requiring quick thinking players, works best from a slow ruck (it can be effective off quick ruck ball too).


  • Coaching your rugby players in winning quick rucks - This rugby coaching session is about winning quick ruck by committing only one player to the breakdown. It is important that players use a combination of good ball placement and strong, dynamic body positions to provide clean ball for the support players.


  • Coaching throning the ball - This rugby coaching drill session is about creating safe ball in the contact collision. Coach your players to do this well and your scrum half will have good ball from which to clear.


  • Rugby drill for defending the ruck - Defending close to the ruck requires organisation. Since you are likely to have different players in position at each ruck, it is always worthwhile reminding your players of their roles.


  • Rugby coaching drill to improve rucking skills - A rucking grid creates various challenges for the players to react to. It helps them concentrate on how to arrive "through the gate" and make a difference at the ruck.


  • Rugby coaching session to practise attacking mauls - If your rugby team is up against a side that mauls well, it needs to know how to defend against the opponents. Players can only do this if they have practised attacking mauls in training. Use this rugby coaching session to help.


  • Rugby coaching London Irish video for continuous counter rucking - This rugby coaching video clip shows a continuous counter-rucking rugby drill in which two defenders look to counter-ruck against the opposition's primary support.


  • Rugby coaching tips for attacking from the ruck - A simple calculation is required to work out whether you should attack the blindside. If your numbers are greater than the defence, then it is worth exploiting. If there is space wide out, the option is to attack the openside.


  • Rugby coaching guide to understanding key ruck laws - This article offers a rugby coaching guide to rucking and the laws of the ruck.


  • Rugby coaching tips for a pick and go ruck move - The easiest metres to go forward can be found at the side of the ruck. If the defence is not quite in place, why bother passing the ball backwards five metres when you can simply pick and go around the edge. Coach this simple rugby drill to get your players practising a go forward tactic.


  • Rugby coaching tip for clearing out opposition players from the ruck - Have you heard of the term "ruck inspectors"? They are the players who you find floating around the edges of the ruck, looking at the mêlèe beside them without making any difference.

    I often say to these types of players, if you have made the effort to get there, then make a difference. Here I explain how this should make a difference.


  • Rugby coaching tips on when to ruck or maul - Is a ruck better than a maul? No, because a maul can move forward, suck in defenders and, by doing so, create space elsewhere on the field.


  • Eight rules for rucking in rugby - The breakdown has many complexities and variables. To coach it more effectively, you need to have simple rules to follow to help focus your training.


  • Rugby coaching tips on working the rules - Richie McCaw expertly "works the rules". He is an intelligent player with a great understanding of the game and the laws. Here are some of the simple things than McCaw does well.


  • Rugby coaching tips on clearing out the ruck - Clearing out opposition players from the ruck area is essential if you’re going to secure quick, quality ball and avoid turnovers. The ability to clear out the ruck requires good technique and tactical know-how, however, and not simply aggression and strength.


  • Rugby coaching tips on defending close to the ruck - Defending close to the ruck requires organisation. Since you are likely to have different players in position at each ruck, it is always worthwhile reminding your players of their roles.


  • Rugby coaching session to improve body angles at the ruck - Here is a Smart Session that develops the sort of body angles that will make a real difference at the ruck.


  • Rugby coaching session for rucking - This session is called "short, short, wide". It is a set piece outside your 22.


  • Rugby coaching tips from Richie McCaw's technique - Richie McCaw is an intelligent player with a great understanding of the game and the Laws. Here are some of the simple things than McCaw does well.


  • Rugby coaching session to improve technique at the ruck - Here is a simple session in which you can test your players' awareness of their roles at the ruck.


  • Improve one-on-one rucking with this rugby coaching session - This session is a great rough and tumble activity that helps players understand how strong, low body positions will win the contest over the ball.


  • Winning turnover ball in the rugby ruck - Here is a guide to winning turnover ball in the tackle.


  • Rugby coaching ruck drill focusing on clear out technique - This rugby session works on faster rucks for cleaner ball. Quick rucks allow more attacking opportunities because the defence has to adjust fast and might leave gaps. That doesn’t mean loads of rucks, but high tempo play to create go forward ball.


  • Ruck side defence - With the Laws at the tackle meaning tacklers have to release the ball carrier, chances to steal the ball are rare.

    By Mark Calverley, head of physical education at Westlake Boys School, New Zealand



  • Agility before contact in rugby rucking - Every ball carrier should be looking to avoid the tackle or to take contact on their terms. The key is to put defenders off balance by using good footwork.


  • Rucking drill for the whole team - This drill will ensure better continuity by making the whole team ruck, not just the forwards.


  • Rugby coaching session working on the maul basics - Here is a session on mauling, which is a great game to keep your players working on their maul basics.


  • Rugby coaching tips to clear an opposition player off the ball - An opposition player with his hands on your ball at a ruck needs to be cleared out of the way as quickly and accurately as possible. Follow these tips to coach the best clearing method.


  • Know the four key ruck roles - Any player may be involved in a ruck at any time during a match. Understanding their roles and responsibilities will help the players win the ball. By Colin Ireland.


  • Rugby coaching tips on improving rucks - Good rucking is all about power and technique, not just pure aggression. Too much aggression can lead to penalties and lost rucks. Follow this advice to keep your players focused.


  • Rucking to clear the ball - Successful rucks depend on clearing past the ball or at least providing clear access for the scrum half.


  • Rugby coaching session to improve rucking - This rugby drill session is all about improving your players' rucking from unusual situations. The body positions they take up are vital.


  • How to improve your players' footwork in the ruck - Your players do not need to repetitively drive into pads in training to develop driving skills.


  • Drive back the opposition to win a ruck - In defence, your team can win a ruck by driving back the opposition. Use this advice to teach your players the best times to challenge for ruck ball and then turn it over.


  • Beating slow ball - A key feature of rugby is the speed that the ball is recycled. The faster the ball can be recycled, the more opportunity teams have to use their outside backs to greater effect.


  • Low Loaders- Wrong side of the breakdown - Clear up the mess at the breakdown with this easy-to-set-up session. It deals with players falling over and getting themselves on the wrong side of the ruck. The outcomes of the session are guaranteed to improve the speed of your ball from rucks.


  • Ruck scan - What you tell your players the session is about: 1. Learning to make quick decisions at the ruck 2. Improving body positions and angles when arriving at the ruck.


  • Support play to speed up your attacks - When the ball carrier is tackled to the ground, the support player is faced with key decisions – play the ball or form a ruck.


  • Three ruck attack options - Your team needs to make quick decisions from quick ruck ball to exploit its opportunities. Here is how to develop those options:


  • More effective rucking - Use these five tips to spruce up your players' rucking skills and techniques to ensure quicker ball.


  • ABC - Agility Before Contact - More Rucking Tips


  • The height of ruck power - Players must use the correct combination of height and balance to clear opposition players out of rucks. They need to be low enough to be effective, but not so low they go off their feet and concede a penalty.


  • Secure maul ball - This session is great for retaining possession and going forward in a maul.


  • Clearing out at contact - Develop the best body position required to clear defenders away from your player presenting the ball on the ground at the tackle.


  • One-handed magic - I seem constantly to have to remind my players to carry the ball in both hands. However in certain situations there are advantages to carrying the ball in one hand.


  • Improve your players' rucking - Improve players’ confidence in their tackling and ability to put the ball carrier on the ground quickly. Develop support player speed in getting to the tackle and accuracy at getting over the ball legally.


  • Guard the ruck - Improve the defence at the edge of the ruck. The first player in position at the ruck is known by many names: guard, pillar, “A” or “1”. His role remains the same. He must stop any player coming around the edge of the ruck and over the gain line.


  • Ruck turnover tackles - Don't just defend the ruck, turnover the ball if they attack close to the edge. Have one player tackle low. The next player goes high, driving the ball carrier over and trying to grab the ball after he goes to ground.



  • Low man rucks - A great rough and tumble activity that helps players understand how strong, low body positions will win the contest over the ball.


  • Messy sandwiches - Rucks are not neat and tidy affairs. An arriving player is faced with a decision on how to clear out opposition players effectively and quickly to protect the ball. Here are a mess to clear up.


  • Ruck, scrum, ruck - Replicate a game situation where a forward has to scrummage in between his other open play roles.


  • Rugby rucking drill for flank support -

    The player on the edge of a ruck can recycle himself back into the game quickly by choosing the right angles straight from the contact. This is a “one-two” rugby rucking drill where the focus is on the player working hard in the contact and then in support.





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