Prior to accepting a tackle and setting a ruck, you can maintain go-forward by driving your feet while engaged. A teammate joining in can keep your momentum moving forward and if not drive you through the tackle attempt, secure the ball and keep it moving.

Hammer / Latch

  • In both cases, the ball carrier drives square into contact, staying low enough to be able to maintain forward momentum or at least resist being tackled
  • ‘Hammering’ involves the supporting player driving a shoulder into the butt of the ball carrier, pushing him/her forward as if they were in a scrum
  • ‘Latching’ is less secure, but is the next best thing if there’s no time to get into an ideal driving position. The latcher wraps an arm around the ball carrier and helps drive forward


  • Mauls are similar to the above, but technically speaking, they consist of at least two players from each side and the defenders are NOT allowed to pull it down (see that a penalty try is given for doing so in the last example below)
  • Also different is that in a maul, the ball is typically transferred to the player who’s joined on from the back. The ball can certainly be kept ‘at the front’ with the initial ball carrier, but if it does not emerge, the defending team will get the feed at the scrum. A quick transfer to the player at the back ensures the ball can be used once the maul becomes static or at an ideal moment

Pick Through the ‘Breakdown’

  • Even before the ruck technically has formed – i.e. a defending player has bound on to an attacker, thus starting the contest – a clever attacking support player could pick up the ball and dart right over the ‘breakdown’ if there are no defenders present
  • Here we see three examples of this, and it’s important to note that none of the players who picked up the ball where engaged with a defender (otherwise, they’d be handling the ball in the ruck and be penalised for it)