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    by Published on 14-07-11 12:07     Number of Views: 769 
    1. Categories:
    2. Ruck,
    3. Grassroots Rugby

    The ruck is a dynamic part of the game that will usually occur once a tackle has been made and supporting players have arrived. A ruck is formed when a player from each team binds onto each other with the ball on the ground, the players should try to win the ball using only their feet (Rucking) and their feet should only ruck the ball.

    Once the referee deems a ruck has been formed they should call 'Ruck' to let the players know. The players should then stop using their hands and try to win the ball as defined above.

    Where the first player in has lifted the ball from the ground and then a second player joins, a ruck has not formed and the ball carrier need not let go of the ball, the referee should also not call ruck.

    Areas that normally make a referee blow their whistle are:-

    • Players going straight to ground (killing the ball)
    • Not entering the ruck from behind the back foot (through the gate)
    • Handling the ball in the ruck
    • Pulling the half back into the ruck


    There is no real right and wrong way to officiate the game to the Laws and websites like this can only advise you on common situations. The only person out there on the day is you, so it has to be your call on the spot.

    Players going straight to ground (killing the ball)

    Players who arrive at a tackle zone should not fall on or over the ball to prevent the opposition competing for it, intentionally or not, arriving players should always be attempting to play the ball. Players that go straight to ground are preventing a contest for the ball.

    If players go to ground the Referee should penalise them straight away and advise the captain at the next natural breakdown that players must stay on their feet and join the ruck with their shoulders above their hips.

    A common term used to recognise this is that players backs should be in a 'taking off' position, not a 'landing position'.

    Not entering the ruck from behind the back foot

    Any player wishing to join the ruck should always do so from behind the hindmost foot on their side. An easy way to keep an eye on this is to stand blind side of the ruck, at a 45 degree angle (on the A line) so that you can observe the offside lines as well as the players joining. If you feel a player is about to enter from anywhere else you may be able to verbally prevent them doing so and stop needless penalties being given away. You should try to vary your position so that players do not get used to you being in one place and knowing where you are.

    Should the ruck occur over what was previously a tackle zone you should ensure that arriving players allow the tackler and tackled player to get out, calls of 'let him out' or 'get away *colour/number*' can assist you in managing the ruck effectively.

    Handling the ball in the ruck

    Once 'ruck' has been called players should release the ball and use their feet. Should the ruck contain a few players it is possible some may not hear the first call (being stuck in the middle) a second more specific call of 'No hands *colour/number*' can help to release the ball and allow the ruck to be played as it was intended.

    Pulling the half back into the ruck

    Once the ball has emerged on one side or another the half back will be preparing themselves to start the next phase of play, opposition in the ruck cannot pull the half back into the ruck until they have control of the ball. Until this point a call of 'leave him *colour*' should be enough to let the opposition know that they cannot play the half back yet. Once the half back has the ball and has pulled it clear of the back foot the ruck is over and the half back is free to be grabbed/tackled as per general play.