Inside the 22

What's your favourite position?

Dec
3
2018
What’s your favourite Position?

Rugby Union is a funny game. So often we hear that it is a game for all shapes and sizes and that still is as true today as it was when the game was founded.

Sitting around the clubhouse after a game I often look around and think how bizarre the game is when you compare a winger and a prop and think they play the same sport. 

This post is a run through each position in a rugby team from 1 to 15. The pros and cons and some famous faces who have played that position. Let me know what you think. What is your favourite position? Have I missed anything that you love (or hate) about playing in your position?

Prop

We start as is natural with the front row and the props specifically. Props are incredibly important in the set piece. They provide stability in the scrum and are normally key lifters in the lineout. Although traditionally props are seen as set piece players, modern props are expected to offer more around the pitch. 

Pros – Part of the Front Row Union; Can eat whatever you want; first name on the team sheet (literally for the Loosehead); get picked every week without training.

Cons – Scrummaging is dangerous and hurts; No one else knows what you are doing (apart from other front rowers); your friends think you are lazy.

Famous Faces – Jason Leonard (England), Adam Jones (Wales), Gethin Jenkins (Wales), Fran Cotton (England), Carl Hayman (New Zealand).
Jason Leonard


Hooker

The hooker is an important part of the set piece and is responsible for ‘hooking’ in the scrum and throwing in the lineout. They are normally smaller than the props and play an important role around the field doing the dirty work.

Pros – Big set piece responsibility; freedom around the pitch; not a prop.

Cons – Having to throw straight in the lineout; claustrophobic in the scrum; sound like a prostitute; not a prop.

Famous Faces – Keith Wood (Ireland), Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand), Raphael Ibanez (France), John Smit (South Africa).

Second Row

Second Rows or Locks are normally the tallest guys in the team. They push in the scrum, jump in lineouts and are the work horses of the team. Around the pitch locks spend their Saturdays hitting rucks and mauls and carrying the ball in traffic. 

Pros – Tall; being lifted in the lineout is fun; biggest guys on the field.

Cons – Unseen work; winning scrums is the front row, losing them is the second row; you’re called a donkey most of your rugby career; spend half the day with your head up a props arse.

Famous Faces: Martin Johnson (England), John Eales (Australia), Willie John McBride (Ireland), Bill Beaumont (England).

Flanker

Flankers have key defensive roles, make lots of tackles and try and turnover the ball. In attack they are the players who secure balls and have the highest work rate. Flankers should be fit, fast and have a good understanding of the game to be able to read situations. It is my favourite position.

Pros – Freedom; get to make lots of tackles; lots of fun in contact; no big set piece responsibilities.

Cons – Black eyes (lots of black eyes); people think you are mad; you are mad; have to put your head in places where it hurts.

Famous Faces – Neil Back (England), Richie McCaw (New Zealand), Francois Pienaar (South Africa), Fergus Slattery (Ireland).
Francois Pienaar

Number 8

The number 8 has a similar role to his back-row counterparts but is also expected to do a bit more ball carrying. Normally bigger than flankers, Number 8 is a physical position that is involved in a lot of the attacking play. 

Pros – Lots of ball carrying; get to play between the forwards and backs; people think numbers 8s are cool.

Cons – Need to work very hard to do the job properly; position doesn’t have a real name; you are treated as a human wrecking ball (not always in a good way).

Famous Faces – Lawrence Dallaglio (England), Sergio Parisse (Italy), Kieran Reid (New Zealand), Taulupe Faletau (Wales).

Scrum Half

The link between the forwards and backs. Scrum Half is a key position that controls the game. Scrum half makes key tactical decisions and is an important kicking option. 

Pros – Lots of ball in hand; controls the game; gets to boss other players around.

Cons – Not always the most popular player in the team; big responsibilities; normally smallest player on the pitch.

Famous Faces – Agustin Pichot (Argentina), Peter Stringer (Ireland), George Gregan (Australia), Matt Dawson (England)
Gregan

Fly Half

Often seen as the most important position on the field. The fly half controls the game plan and is normally the key kicking option. Calm under pressure is key as Fly Halves have to make decisions through the game. May also kick for points.

Pros – Lots of ball in hand; seen as most important player; kick for posts; top points scorer.

Cons – Often blamed for bad performances; can’t make mistakes.

Famous Faces – Dan Carter (New Zealand), Johnny Wilkinson (England), Jonny Sexton (Ireland), Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)

Centres

Centre must hold a similar skill set as a fly half with the ability to catch, pass and make decisions in attack. They must also be strong ball carriers and tacklers. Centre is an important position in attack and defence.

Pros – Ball carrying; tackling (if you like that sort of thing); space to run.

Cons – Exposed in defence; relies on a good fly half.

Famous Faces – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland), Jamie Roberts (Wales), Will Greenwood (England), Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand).
Brian OD

Wing 

As the name suggest the wingers are the widest players on the field. Wingers are normally the quickest players and support ball carriers and finish tries in the corner. More often than not the highest try scorer in a team.

Pros – Score tries; Can hide; don’t need to mess up your hair; fastest player in the team.

Cons – If playing in certain teams you will never get the ball; it is cold out there.

Famous Faces - David Campese (Australia), Bryan Habana (South Africa), Shane Williams (Wales).

Full Back

Our final position and number 15. The full back helps the fly half to control the game. They are solid under the high ball and need to clean up opposition kicks as well as having a strong kicking game themselves. Good full backs also act as an extra play maker and have good skills and decision-making abilities.

Pros – Lots of space to run in; best view of the game.

Cons – Catching high balls; often on your own without support; getting smashed on a good kick chase.

Famous Faces – Jason Robinson (England), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Israel Falou (Australia).
Jason Robinson
So, that is my run through of each position. What is your favourite? Anything I have missed?