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The Playbook: Rugby Maul

The what, when, where, why and how of a rugby maul and mauling. Read on how you can use rugby maul to your advantage and gain ground.

What is a maul?

There must be a minimum of three players involved for a maul to form. 

  • The ball carrier, making contact with the defender and managed to stay on his feet by turning his back on the defender. 
  • The defender with his shoulder binds to the back of the ball carrier. 
  • A team mate of the ball carrier, who supports the maul by binding onto the ball carrier and driving the maul forward. 

Why maul when you can go down and form a ruck?

The purpose of a maul is to allow players to compete for the ball, which is held off the ground. Attacking players can join maul by binding onto the hindmost players and their shoulders must level or above the hips. The attacking players must attempt to stay on their feet, if the ball carrier gets taken down to the ground, referee will restart play with a scrum. The defending team will have the advantage of putting the ball into the scrum. 

When a maul is formed…

An offside line comes into force for each team and will be parallel to the goal-line right behind the foot of the hindmost player in the maul. The ball can then be passed backwards between the players in the maul and eventually passed to a player who is not in the maul, or the hindmost player can leave the maul and run with it. If the maul has stopped towards a goal line, it may restart moving providing it does so within five seconds or the referee will instruct the team in possession to use the ball or risk having the play restarted with a scrum. 

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