Rugby Rucking Drills

A ruck occurs when the ball is on the ground and at least one player from each side is in physical contact with the ball between them. It is a technique used to get or keep possession of the ball after a player has been tackled in open play. The following rugby drills build-up player confidence and technique.

The Ruck

Explanation: A ruck occurs when the ball is on the ground and at least one player from each side is in physical contact with the ball between them. It is a technique used to get or keep possession of the ball, after a player has been tackled in open play. Arriving at the incident before the opposition and driving forward will keep the ball moving and unsettle the defense, 2 key points to ruck successfully.

Description: The job of the ball carrier is to make first contact with the opposition, using their lead shoulder, to attempt to bump the tackler off balance. If they get held by the tackler then the ball carrier should turn to face their support players, and slowly fall to the ground.

  • When a player is on the ground, they must place the ball closer to their support, and then cover their ears with their hands, keeping the elbows up to protect the head.
  • When the support players arrive they drive over the top of the ball carrier, make contact with the opposition, and each other to form a driving wall, with flat backs and shoulders above hips.
  • After the support players have passed over, the ball carrier jumps up after another player has picked up the ball and run or made a pass.

1v1 – Roll Off

This is another, very effective way of clearing a man out of a ruck when they already have their hands on the ball.

  • To get them off the ball, and out of the ruck, the play should perform a “judo” roll, to roll him out of the ruck.
  • To do this successfully, the player must hold him under the arms, and rap the arms around his body, then shift all of his weight and roll to one side.
  • This will clear the player out of the ruck and leave the ball open for the scrum-half to come and collect.

Straight Clear 3 People

Explanation: This drill shows a basic Ruck situation and will give players the concept of rucking and introduce a game situation. It introduces another player the help clear the ruck, creating a more game-like situation.

Description: The ball carrier should go in, make contact with his shoulder, turn his body and present the ball. The players that will be clearing should then get their bodies low and ruck over the bag. As the hit the bag with the shoulder, they should wrap their outside arms around the bag.

Rucking Straight Clear

In this drill, you are trying to hit straight through clearing out the opposition, in this case, the man on the ball.

  • He should hit low, with his hips in line with shoulders and back straight.
  • This will cause the opposition to take his hands off the ball and will cause them to be cleared out of the ruck.

Straight Clear 2 Player

Explanation: This drill shows a basic Ruck situation and will give players the concept of rucking and introduce a game situation.

Description: The ball carrier should go in, make contact with his shoulder, turn his body and present the ball. The second player should then get his body low and ruck over the bag.

1v1 – Cross Arms

This again teaches players how to take the opposition’s hands off the ball in a ruck.

In this method, the player should step so he is leaning over the top of the opposition and then grab the arms just above the biceps, and twist them while driving them backward.

Making Contact in a Ruck Straight Clear

Explanation: This drill aims to teach players how to clear out a ruck. It involves them using power, speed, momentum and good technique to effectively clear out the opposition.

Description: The main thing to remember is to have a low body position, have a flat back and make contact with the shoulder, wrapping around the bag. The aim is to drive the player as far away from the ruck as possible.

Falling correctly in a Ruck

Explanation: This is how to fall correctly in the ruck to avoid injury and to present the ball to your team.

Description: The player with the ball should take a large step into the bag, with his head to one side. He should then fall knee, hip, shoulder and present the ball. He should then present the ball to his team with his arms fully extended.

Falling correctly with ball

Explanation: This is how to fall correctly in a ruck situation.

Description: The ball should be held as far away from contact as possible. The player should take a large step, hit the bag and fall knee, hip, shoulder and present the ball to his team.

Rucking 4 v 2 Drill

Explanation: This is a further progression of the ruck technique and involves four people.

Description: The ball carrier will take the ball into contact and present the ball. The next two players will then come in and ruck over, clearing it out. The fourth man should then also ruck until he is a good position to step over the ball securing it further.

1v1 Arms Away

This drill teaches players how to take someone’s hands off the ball in a ruck.

  • Place arms in between the opponent’s arms, and pull outwards, while driving them backward.
  • Step over the ball, and present it.