In rugby, a maul is a phase of play that occurs when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents, and one or more teammates bind onto the ball carrier. It is a method of maintaining possession and advancing the ball while keeping the defenders engaged. The maul is a highly physical and strategic aspect of the game, requiring coordination, strength, and technique.
A maul typically forms when the ball carrier is held by opponents in a standing position, and their teammates bind onto them, creating a collective forward drive. The ball must be off the ground, and all players involved in the maul must be on their feet. The objective of the attacking team is to drive the maul forward while keeping possession of the ball.
The defending team aims to disrupt the maul by attempting to stop its progress, legally contesting for the ball, or causing a collapse. Defenders can join the maul, attempting to halt its momentum or force the attacking team to release the ball.
Mauls require adherence to specific laws and regulations. Players in the maul must stay bound to their teammates and not interfere with opponents illegally. The maul must remain dynamic, with players continuously driving forward and not becoming stationary or obstructing the ball.
Mauls are critical in creating attacking opportunities, gaining territorial advantage, and tiring out the opposition. They can be used to suck in defenders and create space for backs or to grind down the defense and set up scoring chances for forwards. Successful mauls require coordination, communication, and physical dominance, making them a key aspect of the game's strategy and intensity.
Photo: Pixabay (free)