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Breakdown By Position

Written by Ryan Rennaker

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.

Forwards:

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.

Backs:

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.

81 comments:

Chris said...

Hm, your comments about the fullback position make me think that you've probably been hit once too many times by them! From your post, you're obviously just a forward. Jealousy because they're faster, can actually kick, and hit harder than you doesn't have any place on the web.

"Support your local hooker - play rugby!"

Sarah said...

Clearly written by a number eight who has a face like a blind cobbler's thumb!!

Anonymous said...

personally i think it was written by a good player who has sense of humour if you read it carefully he actually has a dig at every position on the field so chris and sarah get your facts right and read it carefully before you pass judgment

Anonymous said...

Porter,,,,,,apart from da good fashion sence and speed demon u obiously neva had come against a winger lyk me tut tut tut so your calling englands iron man josh lewsey a build of a soccer player brilliant syt doh

Anonymous said...

ive played on 2 rugby teams now, mainly in the fowards, but had to go into the backs for a few games, so ive had the best of both worlds. quite honastly i couldnt agree more.

go flankers

Anonymous said...

none of you can say eneything except go FLANKERS !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, 8 man all the way baby!!

Anonymous said...

Obviously someone has been hit quite hard by a full-back a couple of times, he has also no doubt been passed by one, burnt by one, chipped by one, and just generally skinned by one before. M8 we all know that forwards are overwieght, with no skill, and run at about the same speed as a bike with no wheels. If you see a fit young skilled athletic athlete, hes probably a back!

Anonymous said...

HAHA, backs athletic... I find that statement both humourous for its obvious sarcasm, yet infuriating for its blatant stupidity... Halfwit you obviously underestimate the need for forwards. Many times i've seen a back line crumble from one taclke after a poor pass and no forwards to win the ball back. In schoolboy Rugby all the way to some of the lower professional teams, the forwards make the team, with the backs their for decoration. Maybe in the Elite the backs display some skill and prove their worth...

Anonymous said...

people dont get so uptight bout it, its only a laugh n u hav to agree, extremely funny!!

Anonymous said...

wow go on the fowards

Anonymous said...

i'm a flanker and youve got the flanker position down to a tee (tee get it). For the second half of this season ive had to play inside centre because of injuries, and ive never been so bored in my life, forwards is the place to be.

Anonymous said...

This is friggin hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Haha, SO TRUE about wings!

Anonymous said...

flanker and second row best position backs sucks and us bloody fowards are always doing the work if we win the ball and give it to the backs we lose it i think we will be better off without backs sometimes 15 fowards should do instead

James said...

Props and Hookers - modern day heroes. Front Row for the win!!!

Josette Elaine said...

Your breakdown is hillarious! I'm a Scrum Half and that description describes me to a "t"! lol. ~Josie

Morgan (new 8 man) said...

thanks, you've helped me into my new position. M

Anonymous said...

I played fullback in High School, and you got it dead on. The pressure was intense and I consistently fucked up. This made me want to avoid the team since I thought they were always pissed off at me.

Ethan said...

Wooo! First and Second Rows are where it's at! w00tw00t

Tobes said...

Hahahaa, your interpritation on centres couldn't be more wrong. I play rugby in the county of Berkshire, which boasts many England academy players. Eight to be exact, and six of them are centres. So go back and pretend to push the whole scrum as you do in your number 8 position.

Anonymous said...

cheers mate just what I needed

Sandra =) said...

ahahaha. crack up. love the descriptions!!! I support ALL positions ... but mainly FLANKER, HOOKER & CENTRE!!! .. the one's I'm best at ^_^

Ryan said...

Believe it or not this helped
See mum ... Learning can be fun!! =]

markhats said...

obv. written by a forward. i agree with a lot of it (i myself being a scrum half) but i think not enough cred goes to the backs. my experience is that forwards have far more knocks than backs. GREAT article though!

Anonymous said...

I played flanker for years... then the selectors decided to move me out to centre, what a revelation! Loads of standing around whilst the forwards scrummed, rucked & mauled, lots of standing around while the forwards contested line outs, every foul involved the forwards in more physical encounters while the backs waited for the outcome, take it from me life is far more relaxed in the backs and even after a run out, there is plenty of time get you breath back while the forwards front up yet again!again There is absolutely no comparison in the fitness levels between the pack & the backs... to be a forward you need to be twice as fit as a back, being a back is like being semi retired!

Anonymous said...

I've played as a back and fowar and personally both are needed. If the fowards aren't plating well your team is screwed but if the backs don't play well your not gonna scor much.

Gabrielle :) said...

Hah I love this war between the fronts and backs but yknow if the fronts and the backs worked together then they might even get somewhere! :)But apart from that go flankers! :D

Anonymous said...

Inside center is like a forward with speed. We get the ball and either burst through the backs or smash through the slow footed forwards. 8's, flanks and inside C's are the real athletes.

shapewear said...

ive played on 2 rugby teams now, mainly in the fowards, but had to go into the backs for a few games, so ive had the best of both worlds. quite honastly i couldnt agree more.

Anonymous said...

That bit about the flyhalf was hilariously accurate about every flyhalf I've ever met.

Anonymous said...

great banter

Anonymous said...

one of the most true things ive ever read

Anonymous said...

Haha, I couldnt agree more about the wings mate, I used to be on the bench ALL THE TIME waiting for my coach to replace the winger with me. After 3 FULL games, Ive decided that flanker is the best place for me, Im athletic enough to be a center if needs be, but am not a pussy like our FH IC and OC, those guys on my team act haard off the pitch, but on the pitch they hospital pass as soon as a mere SCRUMHALF (no offense, its not ur fault ur small and aggressive) comes towards them

Anonymous said...

FORWARDS FOR THE WIN

Anonymous said...

haha forwards all day the scrum wouldnt work without the 2nd row

Anonymous said...

BANTAAAAAAR but i'm a girl and fly halfs are hot. they get the girls. unless there's a hot number 8 they are hench!!

Anonymous said...

Well I can say the Full Back is pretty much spot on. But they are a vital line in defence and I rarely miss a tackle. A vital player if any.

Erin said...

Nicely Done! I couldn't agree more... especially about number 8 !)
GIVE BLOOD... PLAY RUGBY!!!!

Taft said...

This moron obviously lost a girl to a fly half. And im suspicious that half of these "anonymous" comments are him (most of them are supporting the forwards) i bet he is a self conscious fatty. Im a wing and I took down our biggest player. dont bitch because youre jealous of the backs. Instead you should learn to be a team player and support your team mates.

Anonymous said...

Agree entirely, I believe what you said is completely true, forwards are more of a necessity as I've played a forwards v backs game and the forwards dominated

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this, however I believe you underestimate alotta scrum halfs like myself, who not only start most of the fights but finish them too. Of course it's nice when I have my giant brothers Prop and Lock there to help, but for the most part I handle it. But definitely very humorous and for the most part true description of the rugby players. Although there was a tad bit more bias towards the forwards but it was nonetheless very entertaining. Good show

Anonymous said...

Haha, personally I am a fullback and your fullback section is quite wrong. Honestly after games, the other team has said they were afraid to get in the back because I was there. Ive missed maybe 3 tackles of my entire rugby career, haha its just ashame that youve seen a fullback as bad as the one youve described

Anonymous said...

Very funny! I had a great laugh while learning more about each of the positions. Plus I think my school boys team will have a genuine chuckle before they head on the field tomorrow and get creamed - opps, I mean crush the opposition! Love your work!!!

Anonymous said...

as a flanker much appreciate the comments and fully agree with what you have said about the fly-halfs 'ego' which is more often than not bigger than his kick. loved it all!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic descriptions! Dont suppose you could explain cricket next?

Anonymous said...

brilliant post!

Anonymous said...

brilliant post!

felipeflop said...

Great blog for Rugby enthusiasts!

Anonymous said...

As a player that has played every position in at least 3-4 games. I have to say a lot of these are correct but you have some of the personalities mixed up. Usually its the IC that is the cocky pretty boy. However, backs are important you can't win without them but forwards definitely deserve more credit then they given. I don't see backs diving in against the opposition to win the ball back in the Scrum / Ruck. Both parts are essential so people can pick favorites but shouldn't disregard the other side as useless. Flanker and 8 man by the way. Its what I'm best at.

David said...

Like me, i think this guy is a number 8.

Anonymous said...

Obviously a number 8...and what do you have against fly halfs?

Anonymous said...

Obviously a number 8...and what do you have against fly halfs?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't be more true about wingers and full back, as ive played both haha they just look strange next to all those big forwards, but playing wing always beats player soccer...always

Anonymous said...

I "took down our biggest player" implies that you only did it once and it was probably during practice when everyone goes half pace so they dont hurt each other. And yeah i rarely see a wing holding the ball in the middle of the field. Half the times wing get position they get pushed out of bounds or they have to kick it back in.

Anonymous said...

yeah buddy f/ing flankers are the beast of the game

lilzim16 said...

I play on a high school girls rugby team and I am a flanker. I love it. And thanks for all the helpful advice.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what your talking about. Fly half is not what you think all the moves go through them. not very accurate description ahe

Anonymous said...

Na mate your wrong wings are algud. And learn your shit cause you train how you play

Anonymous said...

Wow I love this ! I've played as a wing, flanker, & hooker and I for one will agree that forwards is the place to be ! I don't get enough action in the back line, as a forward though you're always right in the thick of it. Great article & debate !

Anonymous said...

Forwards win the game. Backs decide by how much!!!

Anonymous said...

Props earn the hard yards whilst the backs sprint for 40 in the open field. This blog made me laugh, a good read I must say (I'm the slightly overweight forward AKA the prop)

Anonymous said...

Forwards are like the Lineman of Rugby. They win you the game but the QB/WRs decide by much

Anonymous said...

ok well first of all i would like to say that you are definitely a foward. and personally im a fullback and i have never cracked under pressure or missed a tackle... you obviously dunno what your talking about

DaveTheLock said...

Fantastic read! I've heard a few times "forwards win the game, the backs decide by how much". Backs, you cant score without the ball. Us forwards set you up with a nice stable platform to do your dance moves off of. Without us, you are nothing! NOTHING, I tell you!

Anonymous said...

I love how many people were offended by this because he dissed your position
I'm a winger and it made me giggle because playing wing sucks balls, not nearly enough action
all positions are important, it's part of being a TEAM, forwards dont get the credit they deserve though
great read, made my day :)

Jambo said...

why are people offended?? its written for humour... i found it exceptionally funny because it does have some truth to it. There is no personal attack on anyone... its just a joke. dont get offended. Thanks for the post.. gave me a laugh.

Anonymous said...

Please on the winger position, get your facts right... Jonah Lomu was one of the fastest stongest players who could run over anyone and he was a winger

Anonymous said...

Forwards rock I'm prop and not a fat lump I have lots of muscle and the most clever person in my class I am averagely fast and have some good handling skills also I'm a long distance runner so know what your talking about

Anonymous said...

Go hookers

Anonymous said...

Proud to be a forward, and more specifically an 8 man

Anonymous said...

Being a second row man myself, doesn't mean your stupid.. top of almost all my classes, quite funny though, i must admit

Jose Henriquez said...

Obviously a forward. But a funny ass pretty accurate description. Im a fly half nd kinda true but im startin out so my kicks and passes are still iffy just gimme a year

Anonymous said...

For such a traditional British public school boy sport, there's a lot of Americanisms! But very funny. Quite helpful to comprehend the rants of my (ex fly half) dad and flanker ex boyfriend, though apparently they should swap positions!

Anonymous said...

yeah Number 8's! but i play centre aswell haha -_-

Anonymous said...

5'10 160 pound flanker converted from the backs. OORAH

Anonymous said...

I've played every position. Author is obviously a number 8, and he's right about most of these. Especially centers.

Anonymous said...

Ive played fowards vs backs and the fowards ate through us until we managed to get the ball we just sprinted round them

Anonymous said...

some of these are so true expecally the wing its true u stand there and do nothing. I went from playing wing to playing open side flanker now the smallest one on the team has to do all the dirty work but I get that shit done

Anonymous said...

He is right. I play fly and I'm a prick!! Cracking stuff. I hate flankers, they alway smile before destroying me.

Anonymous said...

After all the bickering above about who does what the best and everyone getting all upset. You are forgetting that none of it matters. As deep down all rugby players are still upset that you were too fat or not good enough to make the football team at school.