Rugby rucking

Rugby rucking explained here will help you know and understand how you can confidently join a ruck and know what to do when you are in there and pushing.

About rucking

Where it takes place

Normal play in rugby is things like a player carrying the ball or passing it to another player or even kicking it.

When things go wrong and the ball ends up on the ground, with a few players clustered around, it may get a bit messy!

All the players are doing their best to get control of the ball and the situation could turn nasty! So there are rules about it.

It's probably a ruck and if you are involved you must play according to the rules about 'rucking'.

You will benefit when you know when a ruck has formed because you will play confidently and give away no penalties.

The Laws of the Game define the ruck and my simplified details are here at rugby ruck.

Joining a ruck

If you are not one of the players present when the ruck forms, when you join the ruck you must enter "through the gate".

This process is explained on the page rugby support play.

You must not dive into a ruck.

Crouching or bending forward is permitted. Your shoulders must be equal to or higher than your hip level.

This is to make it more likely you will remain standing.

It's a penalty offence if you enter incorrectly.

When you arrive at the ruck you must go no further than the player who is farthest back. Bind onto them with a full arm bind.

If you fail to do this, the ref may say you are 'joining from the side' and award a penalty to the other team.

Posture in the ruck

The objective of rucking is to win possession of the ball.

Rucking is done by all players but forwards tend to be involved more often than backs.

Much pushing, shoving and battering into other players occurs in rugby rucking as you try to control the ball on the ground.

It's well worth sorting out your rucking technique before you get into the thick of the action.

You need strong posture to minimize injuries because the ruck is a tough place to be.

Crouching, well ballanced, feet shoulder width apart, half a pace apart, one foot a little ahead of the other ready to move or resist buffetting is a good start.

Chin up when you crouch will shorten your neck and protect it. This makes it stronger and less prone to injury.

Rucking action

Bind to other players in the ruck with the whole length of at least one of your arms. You may bind with two arms if you want to.

Aim to remain standing, as you try to drive the opposition backwards and off the ball.

Make contact with opponents using the front part of your shoulder.

Use the power in your legs as you drive them off and attempt to step over the ball to gain control.

You may also pull the ball back into your area of the ruck with your boot but you must avoid foul play. Avoid stepping on players.

Hopefully, the ball is well controlled and moves towards the back of your side of the ruck so a player at the rear of the ruck can safely remove it.

Remember, remain bound, with all of at least one arm, until the ruck has finished. Simply gripping another player's shirt is not enough!

When you detach from the ruck before it's over, immediately move back behind your offside line.

You must avoid standing on or trampling opposition players.