Player Position – The Forwards

Player Position - The Forwards

Rugby played at any level always has been a game for all shapes and sizes. In fact this is one of the fundamental tenets of the sport and is recognized in the International Rugby Board (I.R.B.) Playing Charter, a document endorsed by all member unions.

It is one of the only sports where the contributions of those blessed with static strength rather than speed are of equal value to their team. Even today with the recent advent of the Experimental Law Variations (ELVs), which are designed to speed the game up one sees a very broad range of physiques on display from local club rugby through to the international stage.

Throughout a team, from one to fifteen, the roles all require specific mental attributes, and therefore occasionally the player who does not appear to fit the mould physically can be very effective in his chosen position. We take a serious look and then a not so serious one at the various skills and requirements necessary to fill each position.

This feature is not designed to be a coaching aide per se, it is more of a general overview, however it is hoped that the novice rugby player will be able to glean some useful information from it, and used in conjunction with other tools it can benefit lower level coaches. Perhaps it will also enhance the enjoyment of spectators, armchair or otherwise and will no doubt provoke a few friendly arguments regarding my choice of players used to illustrate each position.

The Forwards

There are eight forwards in a rugby team and they wear the shirts numbered No1 through to No8. The forwards comprise three smaller units, the front row, the second row and the back row and we will discuss each in more detail below. The forwards traditionally are used to gain and retain possession of the ball; however in the modern game many forwards are extremely athletic and are used as ball carriers and in attacking open play moves.

  1. The Front Row

There are three players in the front row; a hooker supported by one prop either side. It is a fact that these are the only positions that are defined as requiring training and experience. According to requirements, spare props and hookers -in case of injury- must be available for contested scrums to continue. If there are no suitable replacements available the scrums must be uncontested. This is where the teams pack down but no pushing is permitted.

There is widespread ignorance about what goes on in the front row and the dark secrets can really only be learnt from the grizzled veterans who have survived the uncompromising environment themselves.

  1. The Second Row

The two second row forwards (sometimes referred to as lock forwards) are normally the two tallest men on the team. They pack down in the scrum behind the front row, binding tightly with the other second row and the prop in front (locking the scrum, hence the name) and thereby making a five man unit known as the tight five. One of their fundamental jobs is to provide the power in the scrum and this is why they are often referred to as the ‘engine room.’ The tight five should engage and drive as one, and not as five individuals.

The other primary role of the second row is to win lineout ball. The number two jumper (who normally wears the No 4 shirt) is usually the shorter and slightly bulkier of the two. As the throw gets to him quicker he is often a dynamic, powerful jumper almost always powering forward to take the ball. The number four jumper is usually the other second row agen bola (wearing the No 5 shirt). He is normally the taller, and as the ball has further to travel he is in the air longer and has more variations to deal with as the ball can be taken forward, straight up or backwards.

The second rows must be mobile, good ball handlers and confident under a high ball as the responsibility of securing ball from restarts often falls to them.

  1. The Back Row

Collectively the two flankers and a No 8, who are usually the quickest three forwards in a team make up the back row. Their skills should complement each other and they must blend together as a unit. One at least should have height, as he may be used as a tail of the lineout option.

No.6 Blindside Flanker

The blindside is normally the bigger of the two flankers (known together as the breakaways), and is the workhorse of the back row forwards.

It is necessary to be an all round athlete to play this position and fitness, strength, speed, courage, and stamina are all required in bucket loads. High work-rate and tackle counts are necessary in order to be an effective blindside and mentally he must relish the physical confrontation that this role demands.

At the scrum the blindside binds outside the lock and just behind the hips of the prop nearest to the touchline. His job is to prevent any attack down the blindside (narrow side) crossing the gain line. Sbobet Indonesia As he will ordinarily arrive later to the breakdown than the openside he will have to be able to read the game and anticipate what to do next. He is often required to do a lot of the unseen ‘donkey work’ at the rucks and mauls, and it is generally thought of as a less glamorous position than openside.

In open play the flankers are often utilised in back line moves and therefore good ball handling skills are a necessity.

No.7 Openside Flanker

The multi-faceted openside flanker is all things to all men. Usually smaller than his blindside counterpart he must possess the speed of a back whilst having the physical presence of a forward. He must be absolutely fearless, a psychotic tackler and be prepared to do whatever it takes to win the ball. At the scrum the openside binds outside the lock and just behind the hips of the prop furthest from the touchline and he must watch the ball travel through the scrum. If the scrum is lost he must explode away as soon as the opposition has possession.

A scavenger, the openside must either be first to the breakdown, or cause the breakdown by tackling the ball carrier. He does this by adopting intelligent and accurate running lines. This alone is not enough; he must be supremely fit, maxbet be able to regain his feet immediately and attempt to pilfer the ball thus creating a turnover. Turnovers are the yardstick by which the ability of opensides is measured, and they therefore must have a huge appetite for work. He is without doubt the hardest working player in a team.