Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist explains how to guard the nine at exit rucks

Grant Gilchrist: How to protect the scrum-half

Being able to clear pressure from a ruck deep in your own half is not just down to the scrum-half; the No 9 needs blockers to ensure he can get the kick away cleanly. Here Scotland lock Grant Gilchrist explains how to protect the scrum-half at exit rucks…

Positional positions

“Generally you want faster guys, your back-rows, on their feet, to carry or chase the scrum-half’s kick, so you have your front five protecting at the ruck. You also need to know what side your nine kicks off.”

Front to back

“You want two guys at the front to try to dispel counter-rucks and stay strong over the ball. You have one guy at the back to make it as long as possible, usually a second-row with their long legs, so that it’s hard for the other team to get round and charge down.

“Then you want someone on the kicking side to protect the nine. If you’re attached with a full-arm bind, you have the right to be in front of the kicker.”

Scenario drills

“We’ll practise different scenarios in training, so it becomes second nature in a game. A kick is put in behind and we have to exit from there or we’ll set up from a scrum.

“Making it 15 v 15 is good, so you can replicate the counter-ruck and have people charging down to put the pressure on. You can test whether what you’re doing is effective or not.”


Extra time

“Teams are often setting up long rucks now, so there is more distance for the chargers to cover. That gives the nine extra time so they can be more accurate, whether kicking themselves or passing to the ten to kick. That makes a difference. You also don’t need as many bodies at the front.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.