Rucking is a crucial skill in rugby, needed to recover a ball after the carrier is downed. A player needs to be able to get low to the ground, with the hips below the shoulders, and drive the other player off the ball. Proper form and technique make for effective rucks, as well as a quick reaction speed.
Two Player Practice
The most basic form of rucking drill involves two players, one holding a pad and standing upright, and the other player rucking against him. The rucking player should start low, as if rising from the ground, for maximum power in the ruck. For an additional twist, lie another mat on the ground between the players. This mat simulates a fallen player, an obstacle that the rucker should be able to navigate.
Four Player Practice
Organize the team into four player squads, and line up extra players with ruck pads in groups of two to face them. The first player takes a ball and simulates going to the ground in front of the players with ruck pads. The next two ruck the other two players off the ball, and the fourth player comes up behind them and takes the ball, becoming the new "first player" for the next round. This drill practices all elements of rucking and retrieving the ball from a ruck.
The need to ruck often strikes without warning on tired players. Players may need to ruck several times in a row without a break. To simulate these game conditions, line a file of players along a single line, spreading them about five yards apart from each other, and have one player ruck against each of them one at a time. The rest of the team does the same. This intense drill emphasizes repetition and endurance.
The triangle drill covers many different situations in which rucking is important. Divide the team into small groups of attackers and defenders. The attackers should have one more player than the defenders. Then set up a triangle six yards on each side, and put a ball at each midpoint of the triangle to form a station. Put the defenders in the center of the triangle and the attackers outside. Label each station "A," "B" or "C" and call out to players where the ruck is to form. Call out a new station when one player wins or when the ruck is stationary.
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