Body angle: Come in directly behind the ball.
Body height: Low, head up. Bend at the knees, not at the hips. You need to be lower than the threat. Start positioning the body from two meters out, a good measure is if your hand can touch the floor (with a flat back) then you are at the right height. Accelerate to the ruck from the position.
Threat watch: identify the threat and prep body to win the contact (lower than the threat) Look at what is coming, don’t focus on the ball (know where it is, but focus on the threats), practice peripheral vision and keep the head up. If you are being driven backwards by the threat, holding the clamp will allow you to drag the player on the ground (and the ball) backwards with you.
Be positive: An important part of breakdown play is managing the referee. By staying positive and looking like you are supporting your own body-weight is vital, as referees will look for this.
Be safe: Keeping your head is the number one priority if you are over the ball. With the head up you can brace for the contact and absorb the pressure through your hips. Being blindsided is the number one cause of injuries at the breakdown.
The shoulder battle: this is the key contest at the breakdown; the shoulder battle is won on height. Getting underneath your opponent exposes their chest and once that happens you have a 70% power advantage in the shoulder battle. Keep this in mind and adapt your body position to be best placed to win the shoulder battle.
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