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Our under tens when they go into a ruck situation often go straight over the ball leaving it in the open. A is this ball then available to be played by any player from both teams and B if this ball is out how can we teach them to secure the ball.

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In answer to the first part of your question here is the Law on rucking ending:



A ruck ends successfully when the ball leaves the ruck, or when the ball is on or over the goal line.


So if the ball is free then it can be played by anyone.

Since we want youngsters to play with the ball in hand as much as possible I would just teach them to be ready to pick up the ball and play it as soon as they have successfully rucked over it!

I hope this answer helps you,



I have always tried to get kids that I coach to think on their feet. At a ruck situation they ask themselves a qick question...Is the ball available if NO then drive into the ruck to help clear out the ball. If YES then pick up and drive/pass. Simple

Get them to run training games where whenever the ball is rucked clear and not immediately picked up possesion is lost and a restart with a free pass for the opposition takes place.

The last thing you want to teach them is to slow the ball down to build bridges. This is the current problem with the England national team. Encourage your scrum-half (or deputy if he is caught up) to stay close to the forwards and immediately move the ball on as soon as it's available.

I completely agree with Steve.

I believe bridging and contesting a ruck should be the very last option available to the unit/pod (whether backs or forwards).

Rugby is all about options and decision making i.e. do I take the tackle or evade? pass, kick or run? etc. The more options you give players to think about and practice with, the more ammunition you give to each and every player to go out and perform with, but the options should be mindful of the principles of the game and allow a 'heads up' approach to the game.

I give my teams a simple matrix of options when they approach the ruck area, although I don't necessarily dwell on calling it a 'ruck' practice, more of a 'ball on the floor practice', and I mix it up between the backs and forwards as anyone can be approaching a 'ball on the floor' situation.

Our options matrix concentrates on the position of the 1st (nearest) defender and the best decision our 1st man to the ball can make.

The 'ball on the floor' matrix is:


DEFENDER                   1st MAN                                 SUPPORTERS

On top of the ball         Clears out                               pick & go forward

Just in front of ball        fall on ball (present ball)         ruck over

2m in front of ball         pick, take contact, ruck           secure possession

2-4m in front of ball      pick, draw and pass               support as 2v1


I find it best to start as a cyclic practice with 1st ball carrier running out and placing ball on floor before taking up 1 of the 4 positions beyond the ball, then getting the next players following up to react to his position.

Don't tell the players what options you want them to take, run through each defender position and ask them what they think would be the best option to take in each situation.

Once the players accept the model of options, and can run through them naturally at speed and under pressure, then I would suggest to then pay attention of how the player presents the ball and how/where supporters support from to help maintain continuity.

Hope this helps



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