ARU Smart Rugby – The Maul

8 Mauling Tips

In Defence – The Maul

In this article in the This is Rugby series we are looking at 8 ways of improving your teams mauling both in Defence and Attack.  After all forwards all know that a trundling maul, this is rugby union at its most powerful.

  • Spread the defenders  like on half a clock, this way if the maul changes direction right or left, its progress will be slowed down.
  • Try to get body position as low as possible, like in the second row of the scrum, as this will make it harder to push against.
  • Talk Talk Talk in defence, as you need to know where the ball is and where the maul is moving to.
  • Try and get the opposition in a position where their heads are pointing down, as it will be harder for them to push
  • In Attack – The Maul
  • Try to have the front of the maul, like an arrow head shape with one person (preferably a big one) at the front.  Avoid having a flat front of the maul, like a scrum formation, as the force of the maul will be dissapated across 3 people rather than through one point. 
  • When driving forwards use little steps, and dont move too fast.  The opposition will frequently try and collapse it, by pulling it down, which is a penalty offence, often by tripping up the front of the maul.  Little careful steps will help prevent the momentum making the maul tumble over. 
  • Look up when driving forwards and keep your back straight as this will keep you in a powerful position.
  • Always protect the ball in the maul, and keep it away from the front of the maul where the opposition may be able to steal it.

Is Mauling only for Forwards or should Backs be involved?

Traditionally it has been done by the forwards, but there have been times in important Rugby Union test matches where the backs have also joined the Maul and that surprise factor has led to a crucial try being scored.

In World Rugby what Teams are good at the Maul?

Of late it has been those nations outside of the Top 10 Rugby Union sides in the world who have put particular emphasis on using this as an attacking weapon.  They may not have the skills or flare of the top nations in the backs, so the Maul then becomes a good weapon for them to get forward momentum and get past the advantage line.  It also favours those nations who have a big set of forwards, and typically they will also be strong in the scrum as well. This is rugby union played as many forwards believe it should be tight and hard.  Examples of sides who are renowned for Mauling are Georgia, Italy, Argentina and Romania.Conversely the top 3 teams in the Southern Hemisphere, All Blacks, Wallabies and the Springboks, prefer to play their game around the faster rucking style.

Are there any Disadvantages to Mauling?

Mauling can be quite tiring, although this is the case for both sides, so the arguement not to maul cancels itself out, and after all this is rugby and it is meant to be tiring.  Although the team with the better technique, will save energy and be more effective.

This is Rugby – 8 Mauling Tips – P Burgess Sept 2011

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