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TACTICS

Scrum halves love quick, clean ball at the base of the ruck

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Ruck to make life easy for your 9


Give your scrum half an armchair ride at rucks by providing him with quick, clean ball to allow him uninhibited gathering or passing or the chance to scoot off himself
When Ben Youngs or Morgan Parra whip the ball away accurately from a ruck, they will be thanking their forwards for presenting the ball cleanly. They are not so amused when they have to dig it out. Reaching in and then stepping back means they are immediately under pressure from the opposition defenders at the side of the ruck. Also, a stray boot or leg can break the flow of the pass, leaving the 10 stretching for the ball as his scrum half loses balance or cannot follow through with his hands. Thats why 9s get so grumpy. Their bread and butter is a decent passing game. Most of their passes will be from rucks. Plus, many of them like to scoot off with the ball before passing. They wont be able to scoot if the ruck ball is slow and defenders have a chance to line up to rush forward from the ruck and block their path. To provide an armchair ride for your 9 (and keep him from being too grumpy), you need to do three things well: are players legs and bodies all over it. Supporting players should not stop at the ball, but go beyond it. Use Eamonn Hogans page 4 activity on getting the ball to the gain line quickly from a slow ruck, so the 9 can have an easy ride from the next phase. Sean Holley then gives you a simple activity to make sure your players place the ball securely and then cleanly on page 5. Words by:

Dan Cottrell
Activities by:

Eamonn Hogan and Sean Holley

Get over the gain line with the ball, so defenders have to run back to get into position. Defenders on their heels will give a 9 more time to pass.

1. Win the gain line

2. Place the ball cleanly

Make sure the 9 does not have to rip the ball out or reach in. That slows him down and gives defenders the headsup that the ball is coming.

DEMAND AN ARMCHAIR RIDE

3. Protect beyond the head

As 9 goes for the ball, he will find it more difficult to clear it away if there

Allow your 9s to demand clean ball. They should have the licence to order players into rucks. 9s should also not get too close to the ruck before they eventually dip down for the ball. This helps them assess when to pass and when to order more reinforcements.

RUGBY COACH WEEKLY

TACTICS

Speed rucking: Wrap and recycle


When you have slow ball from the ruck, you can create quick ball by setting up a wrap and recycle play. Use three players to attack the defence close to the ruck.

WHY USE IT?

A wrap play turns slow ball into quick ball and allows your 9 to recyle it at pace.

Have 9 pass the ball to the middle player

Set three players in front of two ruck pad holders

Set up

10m

10m square. Groups of seven players with one acting as a scrum half. Two ruck pad holders per group to challenge the three-man group. A ball.

Gain line
9

10m

1.5m 2m
Get close to the gain line for the pass

HOW TO DO IT

In the 10m square, the ball is fed to the middle player of a group of three. Two defenders with ruck pads stand close to the gain line in the middle of the square (see top picture). Once the three have wrapped up the two pad holders by taking them out and presenting the ball, the 9 approaches the ball (see middle picture). He picks it up and pops it to the support runner who takes it at pace and crosses the gain line (see bottom picture 3). The passer does not have to be a scrum half although ideally, he would call this play because he can see whether he has a quick passing option or not.

9 runs around the back of the three

Controlled placement - the support players take out the threats

9 picks the ball from the back and pops to a runner (flat pass)

The runner takes the ball at pace and close to the gain line

TECHNIQUE

The ball receiver in the three-man group remains very low and in a strong body position while his assistants drive over the top and protect the ball. The ball is presented cleanly for the 9 to pop to the support runner.

Direction of run

Ground covered

Pass

RUGBY COACH WEEKLY

TACTICS

Better ruck placement


Get your players used to stretching and placing the ball as far back as possible after a tackle to make it more difficult for the defence to reach over and steal or disrupt it

WHY USE IT?

After the tackle is made, the farther away your player can place the ball from the defence, the harder it is for the opposition to disrupt it. Encourage good placement habits with these exercises.

Sideways placement: Easy for more than one defender to come through the tackle gate and steal the ball

Jack knife placement: Narrower gate and more likely to be safe if the tackled player is held by the tackler

Long placement: The best, with the ball placed farthest from the defence

Set up

One ball and three cones per player. A ruck pad for the development

HOW TO DO IT

There are three placements: Sideways, jack knife and long, with long the best (see top picture). Get players to lie between three different-coloured cones. You call out a colour and the ball carrier uses his core to shift the ball to that cone (see middle picture). Spread the cones out at different distances, so some placements are stretches.

A ball carrier lies between three coloured cones in any direction

Call out a colour

Green!

TECHNIQUE

Having gone to ground, the tackled player looks to place the ball long, as far from the defenders as possible and reducing the width of the tackle gate. Use of the core (middle of the body) is vital.

The ball carrier has to use his core (middle) to shift around so he is placing the ball towards the called cone

DEVELOP

The ball carrier moves forward into the ruck pad

He drives forward 0.5m

Once players are used to placing the ball, get a ball carrier to run into a ruck pad holder, drive him back 0.5m, go to ground and place the ball as far as possible from the support defender (see bottom picture).
The defender moves forward to reach for the ball

1 3
The ruck pad holder moves away The ball carrier goes to ground and presents the ball

Direction of run

Ground covered

Pass

RUGBY COACH WEEKLY