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Kick-offs: Where to kick, how to chase, and how to

receive a restart kick

Contact: How to win rucks and mauls, and how to attack

close to the breakdown

Handling: Interplay tactics that mix forwards and backs

Attack: How to break down defences in open play using

patterns of play

Backs moves: Set piece decoy moves to release your

most dangerous backs

Kicks to score: Score tries with your kicking tactics

Counter attack: How to cover and return opposition


Scrum: Manipulating the scrum and how to attack from


Lineouts: How to win lineouts and then attack from


Defence: How to stop opponents in open play and from

set pieces

Exits: How to clear your lines and get the ball out of
your 22m area

Create a devastating
rucking machine capable
of turning over a team
of "giants"
Did you know there are around 150
rucks in an average game of rugby?
That's a ruck every 15 seconds*.
So get this crucial aspect of your
game sorted out and so many other
parts will fall into place.
Think back to some games you lost
when you should have won. How
many involved situations where your
team rucked badly?

Easily create a devastating

rucking machine

For example
Possession or territory squandered by disorganised
players, players in the wrong positions or roles, or by
players making poor decisions.

Penalties given away by ill-disciplined players arriving

illegally at the ruck, or keeping their "hands on" the ball.

The ball turned over at the contact contest because

players weren't able to ruck quickly or forcefully, or
because support players adopted ineffectual body

Soft tries conceded by committing too many players to

defensive rucks, or by players taking up haphazard field
Try scoring opportunities lost through slow ball, or players
failing to exploit the options at the ruck, or being "outgunned"
through the phases.
These are just a few of the many ruck problems that rugby
coaches from around the world have written to me about.
With the help of Jim Love, the former Maori All Blacks coach, I
have compiled a ground breaking report about coaching
individual player and team skills at the ruck. It's called The
Ruck and How to Win It.

You already know that there's more to rucking than just "big
hits", and that tactical know-how, technical expertise and
organisation are more important than basic aggression and
The Ruck and How to Win It can help you sharpen your
players' skills, boost your side's technical expertise and channel
your team's aggression to create a successful "rucking

Packed with illustrations and training tips throughout, this new

report is set out in two parts.
Part one focuses on individual player skills, including:
The methods to stop slow ball killing your game, such as
coaching players to avoid contact, make effective contact,
and offload in contact.

The "5 Golden Rules" to winning the contact contest to

secure quality and quick ball at the ruck.

How to develop effective rucks by making the ball carrier

work harder in contact, getting support players to arrive
better and not necessarily quicker to drive through the
ruck, and the body positions required for successful (and
safer) rucking.

The techniques and tactics to dynamically clear out the

opposition at rucks by concentrating on one opponent at a
time, whilst focusing at all times on the ball.

The simple strategies you can adopt to improve your ruck

defence, like getting "close up and personal" with the
other team, the "three point stance" to prepare
defenders, and the decisions your players need to make
about contesting and committing numbers to each ruck.

How best your players can decide whether to attack the

blindside or openside following a ruck, and then how to
set up these opportunities for a successful outcome.

Part two of The Ruck and How to Win It looks at the

coaching of unit and team performance. It contains nine
coaching sessions that show you how to explain and coach all
elements of the ruck to your players.
The sessions will give you the information and prompts you
need to coach:
1. Core Ruck Skills - rapidly clearing out opposition players
from the ruck, and securing quality quick ball for the
scrum half.

2. The Ruck Contest - competing successfully for 50:50 ruck

ball, and making decisions about how to defend or attack.

3. Ruck Defence: "Guard Dogs" - organising an aggressive

defence at the side of the ruck to prevent the attacking
team either gaining ground or getting quick ball, and
competing to win turnover ball.

4. Dynamic Ruck Defence - guarding the fringes of the ruck

from close attacks, such as "pick and go" or pop passes,
and taking your defence to the attacking team.

5. "Ruck Scan" - improving your players' body positions and

decision making at the ruck.

6. Ruck Attack - producing quality ball to attack the fringes

of the ruck, providing you with an option to restart the

forward momentum of a slow attack.

7. Ruck To Maul - developing great dynamic possession from

a static situation.

8. "Ruck Around The Clock" - improving your players'

rucking from unusual situations.

9. "Ruck Vision" - getting your players to communicate

under pressure and after the ruck to exploit the attacking

Every coaching session is created to help you improve your

team's ruck attack and defence strategies and techniques, and
boost your players' skills and technical expertise. The sessions
include prompts like:
1. "What to tell your players the session is about" - to
outline the objectives of the session.
2. "What you tell your players to do" - so they can achieve
these objectives.
3. "What you get your players to do" - to show you how the
session is going to work and the actions the players are
going to take. There are no exact measurements, or
complicated patterns - the approach is "keep it simple".
4. "What to call out" - handy phrases, apart from the usual
words of encouragement, you can call out to focus your

players on the core skills.

5. "What to look for" - to help you identify quickly where
players might go wrong with their rucking so you can
quickly put them right.
6. "What to think about" - questions you can ask of the
players and yourself to ensure your team's rucking
remains potent in different situations and conditions.
7. "Developments" - each session includes a progressive
element to develop and challenge the performance of
players of all standards. For example, a game situation to
test out your players rucking skills in a more competitive

Here are just some of the skills I will be covering in the following weeks and mo
all clearly illustrated and explained to make them easy for you to coach:

Passing and handling

Tackling and defence

Timing for passing

Tackling from any angle

Pop passing

The power of two

Spin passing

Offensive defence

Passing tricks

Grab, twist and fall

Pressure catching

Forcing turnovers

Pass and move

Rush defence

Weighted passes

Disciplined drift defence

Miss passes

Forcing turnovers

Footwork and evasion

Rucking and mauling

Finding space

Quick recycled ball

Offloading in the tackle

Slowing the opposition's ball do

The sidestep

Tight bind and drives

Space on the outside

Clearing out and rucking over


Attack patterns

Pinpoint kicking

Killer back moves

Grubber kicks

Exploit overlaps

Chip kick

Patterns of play

Box kicks

Straight running

Up and under

Zone attacking

Decision making

Support play

Passing under pressure

Pass and support

Tactical kicking

Staying on the shoulder

To run or to kick

Recycle pods

Playing heads up rugby

Creating overlaps