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Rugby Simplified – Part 2 (The Positions)

October 7, 2011

After a mini hiatus just like the 5 days we had without World Cup Rugby, I’ve returned with Part 2 of my 3 part post on simplifying rugby so it could be understood by laymen and especially lay-women.

This post will deal with understanding the different positions in a Rugby team. If you haven’t already, please read Part 1 – The Basics first. To most girls a Rugby Team is a bunch of well built guys in tiny shorts. Hence the attraction. But if you are actually willing to look past the tiny shorts, each of those players in their unique position has something unique to offer. Simply put you need all them to play the game, and to win all of them have to perform exceptionally well. If all of this seems to be complicated and you don’t want to really understand how all the pieces in the jig-saw-puzzle fit, just think of this post as a guide to pick the best looking guys on the team. After all, every girl has a type. So which is your type?

The most generic split in the team is :

  • 1 – 8 : Forwards : The heavier guys, who always seem to find them selves in the midst of trouble.
  • 9 – 15 : Backs : The lanky guys, who seem to run away from trouble.

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First Row

1 & 3 : Props : The most beefy guys in the team. These burly guys pack a punch and are hard to stop when they get rolling. Often found at the front of the scrum, locking their heads with the opposition. Not to be fooled by their mean looks, and always looking for a fight personality, they are very sensitive inside. The gentle giants of the team. Often get joked about sharing a ‘Hooker’ between them. So if your looking for a teddy bear with a big heart, this is your man.

2 : Hooker : Often the stockiest man in the team. The gods have truly been unkind to them in the vertical department, as well as the hair department at times. These guys often have to deal with more than their fair share of balls between their legs in a scrum. Not to mention, they are expected to get it straight in a line-out too.

Second Row

4 & 5 : Lock Forwards : The tallest blokes on the field. These lads make up the 2nd row in a scrum. Back in the day, their height was helpful when they had to jump up for the ball at line-outs. Nowadays, everyone seems to get a boost so it doesn’t really matter. Despite having their heads stuck up behind the front-row, they are known to be the power-house’s of the scrum. Hope broad shoulders is your type..

Third Row

6 & 7 : Flankers : Arguably the fittest boys on the team. There is hardly a dull day in the office for these boys, as they are found in the midst of all the action, be it They are bound loosely to the scrum like a pack of wolves ready to pounce on the opposite Scrum-Half. Gifted with the speed and agility of the back line, these lads still choose to stay and fight.

8 : No 8 : Don’t let the lack of an imaginative name for this position fool you. Those who’ve played in the position believe that it’s a form of flattery, similar to when you say ‘he needs no introduction’. Positioned at the end of the scrum, the ball is often found popping out between this chap’s legs. Similar to the Flankers these lads are found all over the field,



9 : Scrum-half : Easily the smallest guy on the team, but the loudest mouth on the field. Picture that annoying little guy whose always starting a fighting and running away from it. That’s your man. His duty is to feed the ball in to the scrum, and watch while the big boys fight it out. Be ready for the ball to pop out of the scrum, and either run like mad or pass it down the line. Being the smallest guy on the field has it’s advantages in terms of dodging tackles and being fast enough to out run your opponent.

10 : Fly-half : There is no denying that he’s the most good looking guy on the field. The only guy who carries deodorant in his kit bag, and checks him self out in a mirror before he hits the ground. Other than his looks, he’s usually known for his booming kicks. Most often than not he’s the obvious choice to make penalty kicks, and conversions. Ladies if you want this pretty face, there is a good chance that you’d have to get in line.


12 & 13 : Centers : These boys probably were flankers in their previous birth. Known for quick bursts of speed, the late nights in the gym also gives these lads the ability to give a hand-off and brush past the opposition. By chance they go down, they will be looking to offload the ball to the closest team member.


11 & 14 : Wing : The Usain Bolt‘s of the side. Often referred to as ‘Taxi‘ in Sri Lanka, not only for their speed but for their ability to weave through traffic. Positioned at each end of the back-line, think of these boys as the chaps who run the anchor lap in a relay. Besides running with the ball the most common mistake they make is dropping the said ball. Ladies, don’t be heart broken if these speed daemons, leave in a hurry.

Full back

15 : Full back : Known as the last line of defence. The basic requirements are a safe pair of hands to secure the high ball, as well as a good pair of legs to ensure good touch. Not only in defence but these chaps have good speed and play a vital part in offence as well, when they join the back-line to set up an over lap. I guess it’s safe to assume, he’s the safest guy on the field.

Hope this makes sense to the Non-Rugby affluent crowd, especially the ladies. Will catch you with Part 3, where I’ll touch on some of the terminology used in Rugby.

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