5 Steps To More Effective Rucking

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5 Steps To More Effective Rucking by Dan Cottrell

Here are some tips to spruce up your rugby rucking technique!

1. Ruck beyond
When a player hits a ruck, they should aim to end up beyond the ball. Even better is for them to be on their feet, moving forward two or three metres beyond the ball. This prevents the danger of too many bodies over the ball. Too often players come to rest on the ruck or just lean over. This just adds to the traffic, legs and feet getting the way of the scrum half trying to clear the ball.

2. Inside foot
When players arrive they should put their inside foot over the ball. This leads to three great advantages: driving through and out, so clearing players more effectively, stronger body position through the centre of the ruck, and less chance of feet hitting the ball.

3. Spine in line
The old coaching adage in rucking, but easily forgotten – get the spine in line with the direction of the play to gain maximum power through the contact area.

4. Bums to posts
Meaning bums in line with posts, this is another phrase being shouted at players at the moment. It also makes good sense from the point of view of the referee, who will penalise players who come in from the side.

4. Shoulders, hips and fingertips
The players’ shoulders and hips should be lower than the shoulders and hips of the players in front of them. If they can also touch their fingertips on the ground just before the contact, then, as long as the hips are lower than the shoulders, the contact should be enormous.

5. Leave the ball alone
If players look to pick and drive (gather the ball and take it on), or even try to secure the ball by picking it up, then the momentum of the drive is lost and it just causes more traffic. Also picking the ball up can lead to players being off balance and potential knock-ons as well. Help players make decisions on when to pick and drive and the only time to do this –when the ball is clear at the back of the ruck.

Copyright 2005 Dan Cottrell. He is the Editor and founder of Rugby Coach and has experienced rugby coaching at most levels. Dan qualified as an RFU rugby coach in 1997, he has worked with Jack Rowell (former England coach) Brian Ashton (former Ireland coach)and at Bristol, with Dave Alred, famously known as Jonny Wilkinson’s kicking coach.


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