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Rucking Problems

My team is having trouble going past the ball when rucking. We are working on body heights and hitting past the ball but any suggested drills would be a great help.


have you asked them why?

You have an expectation of what you want to see happen, but they may have different ideas about it. Neither are generally wrong, but its what you use that is most effective for the capabilities of the team.

Whenever I take on a new team and we touch on the ruck during some 'brainstorming', I put 2 words on the board "BOMB" or "BRIDGE" (and by bridge, I don't mean 'sealing') then spend no longer than 5 mins chatting on each, then weigh up what the team do best - or even if they equally good at both (which is a plus). I don't tell them to do either, they read the situation and make a decision as to what they think is best in the given situation.

We then go out on the paddock and look at situations where both can be used. I find this then gets players thinking of the need to ruck beyond the ball and also why they're doing it, which in todays 'thinking' game is what makes the difference between teams. The 'doing' it only gets you so far, its the 'WHY you're doing it that propels you further'.

Maybe, you might find that the practices you're using are fine, its just how you talk things through with them.


In addition to Dennis' answer I find this drill (see attached) ensures players are committed to rucking past the ball as the defence is right on the gain line.

I hope this helps


Ruck Defence

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Coach controls defence with calls up and back between cones placed 1 - 2 metres apart.

On the call of 'LIVE' the defence stays on offside line at base of Ruck (marked by cones). Scrum Half is then free to feed any of 5 attacking runners at any time.

Objective - WIN THE CONTACT.

Coaching Points:

Discipline, Low Body Angle, Move Forward Quickly, Absord Impact, Grip Tight, Drive Hard, TALK.

Ian, this is a practice that I use for counter rucking, which could be useful for getting players to ruck beyond the ball.

Counter ruck


Condition the drill in favour of 1 team, in this case the blue team.

All players lay on their fronts behind the tackle bags.

On the coaches whistle, the 2 teams move to contest possession.

The blue players can move straight over the bag to contest, but only the 1st red player can do the same. The other 2 red players have to run round the cones before moving in to counter ruck.


Coaching Points:
  • players get used to counter ruck call/signal
  • low to high drive, with emphasis on driving oppo through the ruck
  • eyes open, grab hold of hook/handle to clear out

Thank you so much for your replies. I'll give them a go and see how the team reacts. Thank you Ian

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  • or access our tried and tested plans