Rugby positions explained

Written by Clayton Saville (Clayton(PJLD))

Posted in :In the news on 21 Dec 2010 at 12:01
Tagged with : , , ,

There have been many attempts to describe the complex roles and responsibilities of each member of a rugby team and the dynamic interactions that take place on and off the pitch. Many of these past attempts have been accurate, many have been precise, and many have been humorous. Most give entirely too much credit to the backs, despite their best intentions.

The following is a breakdown of the different positions on a rugby pitch. It is intended for educational as well as entertainment purposes. If you’ve never seen a rugby game before, you may be better off reading Wikipedia for a more sterile explanation.


Props: These warm, friendly chaps go through life with healthy, albeit often toothless, smiles. In general they are slightly overweight, although they prefer the term “solid.” But don’t let their jolly demeanors fool you: put anything too close to a prop’s mouth and you may never see it again. They eat constantly to fuel their monstrous aggression in the scrums. Like many forwards, they dream of one day hitting a drop goal in a real game and practice the skill diligently in training. They are loyal and trustworthy and great friends to have around off the pitch.

Hooker: The smallest forward, a hooker is known for his crafty ways and cauliflower ears. He is not always the fastest or most athletic man on the pitch, but he manages to get the job done for the full 80 minutes. Hooking and throwing skills are essential as he is a critical part of any good scrum or lineout. The hooker’s job mandates that he have a bald patch on the top of his head, so don’t bring it up unless you want your face raked in the next breakdown.

Locks: Tall and strong, these giants round out the powerhouse that is the tight five. Also called the second row, they are known for their strength and athleticism, although not necessarily for their intellect. Most were not actually born slow; it is apparent, however, that years of jamming their heads between the front row’s asses have taken a toll on their mental capacities. Nevertheless, locks remain an essential part of scrums and lineouts and are indispensable in rucking and ball possession.

Flankers: These athletic machines have all the speed, talent, and skill of backs, but would rather enjoy the brutality of the scrum than sit idly by and watch the proceedings. They are confident, although not nearly as cocky as the backs, and they take great pride in flattening opposing scrum halfs, even if the hit is late. Such an honor is reserved for flankers because they are the most versatile players on the field, capable of producing awe-inspiring runs, running smart support lines, or playing hard-nosed defense if needed.

Number Eight: Rounding out the forward pack, this man has no need for a name; rather one refers to him only by number. Sharing many of the versatile and athletic traits of the flankers, he is clearly the most valuable man on the rugby pitch. He may be seen running over opposing forwards, rucking for the otherwise helpless backs, or making booming hits in the open field. He has the speed to run around the defense, but would rather run over them if presented with the option. Although he is not as groomed as those in the back line, the number eight is one of the most handsome players on the squad.


Scrum Half: If one back must be tolerated, it is the scrum half. He is scrappy and loud, and doesn’t shy away from a fight. In fact, he starts them more frequently than anyone else on the team. This sometimes gets him into trouble because he is too small finish an altercation: usually a forward is required to intervene and save him. A good number nine will rake mercilessly and punch opposing players in the face, or worse, if they don’t release the ball. His passing and kicking skills are developed by necessity only. In reality, he is a forward trapped in a back’s body and would stick his nose in the scrums if allowed.

Fly Half: The cockiest man on the field, the fly half is never seen in the locker room without his hairbrush and French cologne. The fly half supposedly leads the backs and directs the flow of the game, but he is usually found screaming out incoherent orders and yelling at others to ruck so he doesn’t have to. His passes are rarely as pretty as his face and his flashy runs often result in a loss of yardage or a dropped pass. For his uneducated foot, the fly half enjoys kicking far more than is productive or even healthy. Off the field, he cannot be trusted; as such, any self-respecting woman should avoid him at all costs.

Centers: These players like to refer to themselves as a locomotives or “freight trains,” although their speed is often lacking and their statures less than impressive. They would do well to spend some time in the forward pack, to learn not to shy away from contact, and to embrace physicality. The inside center carries the ball far too often due to his proximity to the fly half and his inability to pass the ball further down the back line. The outside center has fewer chances to knock the ball on, but never fails to capitalize when the opportunity is presented. To their credit, they have an amazing knack for taking the ball into contact in such a way that it is impossible to win it back. It’s really quite an anomaly. Off the field, they boast of breaking tackles and scoring tries, although everyone else knows better.

Wings: These speed demons hang around the outskirts of the action so as to keep their uniforms clean. Wings have great fashion sense and can be counted upon to recite tips and trends from the latest issues of GQ. On occasion, they have a chance to break for long runs and excite the crowd, although more often than not they are tackled quickly or pushed out of bounds. Their weak statures also mean they tend to be injured quite easily. Wings look more like soccer players than rugby players, and always have over-inflated egos. On the occasion the forwards provide them with an easy opportunity to score, the wings take all the credit and congratulate themselves by staunchly avoided any contact for the remainder of the game.

Fullback: The last line of defense, the fullback usually crumbles under all the pressure that is put on him. This manifests in various ways including fumbled punts, shanked kicks, and missed open field tackles. If the stars are aligned, he may put together a worthwhile counterattack with the wings, but this occurrence is far too infrequent to merit discussion. The fullback’s status as a rugby player is questionable as he spends the majority of the game spectating from afar. In fact, this personality continues off the field; at post game functions, he is often seen drinking by himself in the corner.

*Article taken from and written by Ryan Rennaker


  • 😆 😆 😆

    I’m guessing a forward wrote this – probably an 8th man.

    Fun read.

  • Comment 1, posted at 21.12.10 12:40:19 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • Why do people tend to hate Australian Rugby players on sight?
    Because it saves time.

  • Comment 2, posted at 21.12.10 12:48:58 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Front Row: Without a doubt the manliest men on the pitch. Large, often hairy, beer swilling carnivores that can and will smash anything in their path. Reveling in the violence inherent in the scrum, they are rarely considered “nice” people, and in fact to some they aren’t even considered humans at all. Front rowers tolerate this attitude far and wide because they recognize their role at the top of the food chain and are used to suffering the fools that surround them. Accused by some of simply being dumb, I prefer to think of this group as “open to unconventional ways of thinking.”

    Locks: Slightly below the front row on the food chain. As with front row players it is inadvisable to put an appendage you wish to keep near this group’s maw when they are in the feeding mode. This group of large, often foul-smelling brutes is also more than willing to relish the finer points of stomping on a fallen opponent’s body and will gleefully recount the tale ad infinitum. While they tend to take the tag “Powerhouse of the Scrum” a little too seriously, they can be useful if inured with the proper hatred of their fellow man. While members of this proud fraternity like to think of themselves as “open to unconventional ways of thinking”- they are usually just dumb.

    Back Row: These are fine, fit fellows who, like a bunch of hermaphrodites, are confused as to what their role in life should be. While they know they are undeniably linked to the forwards, there are those among them who long for the perfect hair and long flowing gowns that come with being a back. Some relish the forward role and will do anything to win the ball and there are others within this group that will break the prime directive of the forward and do anything to prance foolishly with the ball. Generally, these guys are not all bad, but I, personally, have to wonder about any forward who brings a hairbrush and a change of clothes to a game.

    Scrum Half: Some like to think of this back as an honorary forward. I myself tend to think of the No. 9 as half a fairy. While the toughest back almost always fills this position, this idea is almost laughable – kind of like the hottest fat chick. The scrum half’s presence is tolerated by the forwards because they know that he will spin the ball to the rest of the girls in the backline who will inevitably knock the ball on and allow them the pleasure of another scrum. The No. 9 can take pride in the fact that he is the lowest numbered back and that as such he can be considered almost worthwhile.

    Fly Half: His primary role is the leader of the backs – a dubious honor at best. Main responsibilities as far as I can tell are ability to throw the ball over people’s heads and to provide something soft for opposing back rowers to land on. Expected to direct the prancing of the rest of the backline – the fly half, like any good Broadway choreographer, is usually light on his feet. While some may argue that these girls must be protected, I find it hard to support anyone whose foot touches a rugby ball on purpose.

    Centers: Usually come in two varieties: hard chargers or flitting fairies. The hard charger is the one to acquire, as he will announce his presence in a game with the authority rarely found above No. 8. The flitting fairy is regrettably more common and will usually attempt to avoid contact at all costs. The flitting fairy is also only one good smack away from bursting into tears and leaving the pitch to cry on the shoulder of his inevitable girlfriend. Both types will have extensive collections of hair care products in their kit bags and will be among the best dressed at the post-game festivities.

    Back 3: While some people refer to this group as two wingers and a fullback, I swear to God I can’t make out any difference between them. They are all bleeping bleeps if you ask me. How these three guys can play 90 minutes of RUGBY and stay clean and sweat free is beyond me. I know for a fact that their jerseys sometimes go back in the bag cleaner than when they came out. These ladies are fond of sayings like “Speed Kills” and “Wheels Win” – how cute. Well, I have a saying too: it’s “You’re a bleeping bleep!!” These guys will be easy to spot after the game because they are the finely coifed, sweater wearin’, wine sippin’, sweet-talkers in the corner avoiding the beer swilling curs at the bar. On the whole, I really don’t mind this group because in the end, they sure are purty to look at.

  • Comment 3, posted at 21.12.10 12:57:56 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • Love it – and its all true.

  • Comment 4, posted at 21.12.10 13:48:37 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • well me is going to read this one at a much better time i just can’t get myself to get into the rules etc about the game its 4 me just to support the game and learn about it while playing the game got the rules etc but can’t get myself to read don’t know why 😳 😉

  • Comment 5, posted at 21.12.10 18:08:51 by chaz Reply

  • Class! 😆

  • Comment 6, posted at 23.12.10 11:55:44 by Nhumrod Reply


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