Rucks are a vitally important phase of play in the game of rugby. A ruck will help you establish possession in open play and should you get quick ruck ball you’ll be on the front foot with plenty of attacking options. It could be said the team that wins the forward battle usually comes out on top at the final whistle. Should your side’s rucking skills need a bit of work, here is a four-week recharge to get your pack firing.
Week 1 – Be a better ball carrier
Before a ruck is formed your chances of winning and losing it can depend on the position of the player who has taken the ball into contact. During tackle drills, train your players to try and stay on their feet for longer, allowing your forwards more time to get into position and limiting the opposition’s chances of jackling the ball. Once the player has hit the ground encourage them to place the ball as far away from their body, and the opposition as possible.
Week 2 – Clearing out
Just smashing into opposition forwards isn’t the most effective way to clear out at a ruck. Coach your players to arrive at the ruck with one opposition player in their sights. Each player hitting the ruck should target one defender only and hit them with their head up and eyes open, their spin in line with the direction of play and with their hips and shoulders lower than the defender.
Week 3 – Team up
This is a tactic employed by two of the most physical sides in world rugby, New Zealand and South Africa. Set up rugby drills that encourage players to double up and bind together when hitting rucks. The force of two players will easily sweep defenders away from the tackle area. This is useful if the opposition is physically stronger than you. Review your drills with tools like https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/ to improve this skill.
Week 4 – Get hands on the floor
To effectively clear out a defender you have to get underneath them to unstable them, especially if they’ve managed to get over the ball carrier and contest for the ball. Teach your players to touch the ground with their hands before they reach the ruck and ensure their heads are looking up at the point of contact.