Positions in rugby union

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A rugby union team consists of 15 players: eight strikers (forwards) with the numbers 1 to 8 and seven back team players (backs) with the numbers 9 to 15. Depending on the competition, there are up to eight substitutes with the numbers 16 to 23 Each player has a specific role to play and each team uses the same formation, with only minor changes, in contrast to soccer with its different game systems (e.g. 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, etc.).


A player's position is indicated by the number he wears on his jersey, as the numbers are firmly tied to a position (exceptions are substitutes or a change of position during the game). This means that a player will not receive a personalized shirt number for the duration of his career. The world association International Rugby Board has established a binding numbering scheme for international games, which is also used at club level.

The main task of the strikers is to secure the ball, especially from the standard situations of the crowd and alley . In general, strikers have grown taller than the players in the back team, in the past they were stronger, but also slower and less agile and in free play they were almost exclusively involved in the contact points (open scrum and pack). The task of the back team is to pick up the ball captured by the strikers and score points by skilfully running with the ball in their hands or by kicking it away.

This strict division has the advantage that the individual strengths of the players can be better exploited and weaknesses do not have to come into play. The disadvantage is that longer walking distances arise when strikers always rush to the contact points and the back team prepares an agreed and coordinated path and pass path with several game options, a variant . In the professional field there is therefore a tendency towards an increasing dissolution of the strict distribution of roles, especially with more open approaches to play.

The following diagram shows the positions of the individual players in an arranged scrum :

1 left pillar
(loosehead prop)
2 Hooker
3 right pillar
(tighthead prop)
4 second row strikers
5 second row strikers
6 Left Winger
(Blindside Flanker)
8 Number Eight
(Number Eight)
7 Right winger
(Openside Flanker)
9 scrum
10 compound semiconductor
12 First inner three quarters
(Inside Center)
13 Second inner three-quarter
(Outside Center)
11 Left outer three quarters
(Left Wing)
14 Right outer three-quarters
(Right Wing)
15 goalkeeper

Collective designations of the positions

  • First-row players ( front row ): Left pillar, Hooker and right pillars
  • Second row strikers ( second row ): Both second row strikers ( locks )
  • Striker / Pack: Entire front team ( forwards )
  • Third row strikers ( back row ; loose forwards ): left winger, right winger, and number 8
  • Halfback ( half-backs ): Hustle and fly half
  • Three-quarter line : Short outer three- quarters , first inner three- quarters , long outer three- quarters , second inner three- quarters
  • Goalkeeper ( full-back )

Back line (backs)

15 goalkeeper

The goalkeeper (fullback) is behind the main line of defense. Since he is the last defender, he must have good tackling skills. He has to intercept the high and short shots known as bomb kicks . After interception he can either kick the ball back or initiate an attack himself from far behind. Tactics, accuracy, attack strength and speed are among the basic requirements of a good goalkeeper.

The International Rugby Hall of Fame goalkeepers are: Don Clarke (New Zealand), George Nepia (New Zealand), JPR Williams (Wales), Gavin Hastings (Scotland), Serge Blanco (France) and Andy Irvine (Scotland).

11 Left outer three quarters and 14 Right outer three quarters

The main task of the outer three quarters (right / left wing) is to complete the attack and achieve attempts . The other players create enough space so that the outside three-quarters can run directly to the goal line (try-line) after accepting the ball. Outside three quarters are usually the fastest players on the team, but they also have to be able to avoid opposing players. In the modern game, they occasionally move into the midfield. In a defensive game, the outside three quarters also have to master tackling, and often serve as an additional goalkeeper in opposing kicks.

Outside three quarters in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: John Kirwan (New Zealand), David Campese (Australia), Gerald Davies (Wales), Tony O'Reilly (Ireland) and André Boniface (France), Jonah Lomu (New Zealand).

12 first inner three quarters and 13 second inner three quarters

The two inner three quarters (Inside / Outside Center) are the team's all-rounders. You have to be able to break through the opponent's lines and deliver the ball accurately. In defensive play, they must have good tackling skills. Your task is to take the ball (usually from the connector), break through the opposing lines and, after overcoming the last line of defense, pass the ball to the wings.

Inside three quarters of the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Tony O'Reilly (Ireland), André Boniface (France), Mike Gibson (Ireland), Philippe Sella (France), Tim Horan (Australia), Jo Maso (France) and Gwyn Nicholls (Wales).

10 connection half

The fly-half is one of the most important players on the pitch. During the game he is the linchpin and makes most of the tactical decisions. An ideal connection half should be quick, be able to outsmart his opponents, make quick decisions, lead the back line to attack or defend, master the kick and passing game and be able to cope with great pressure. Leadership skills are crucial in this position, as is strong defense skills. Games are rarely decided by trial and error, so that the connection half can make the decisive difference with his shots on goal.

Connections in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Grant Fox , Andrew Mehrtens (New Zealand), Barry John (Wales), Mark Ella (Australia), Cliff Morgan (Wales), Hugo Porta (Argentina), Jack Kyle (Ireland), Michael Lynagh (Australia), Phil Bennett (Wales) and Naas Botha (South Africa), Jonny Wilkinson (England).

9 scrum half

The scrum half forms an important connection between the front and back teams and is usually at the center of the game. A scrum half is usually relatively small, extremely responsive and safe on the ball. He usually forms the first line of defense and stands behind every scrum to get the ball out of the danger zone. He puts the ball in the scrum and then picks it up again. In the alley (throw-in) he can stand further in front than the rest of the back team and recapture the ball if it falls to the ground.

Scrum half-players in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Danie Craven (South Africa), Joost van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Gareth Edwards (Wales), Nick Farr-Jones (Australia) and Ken Catchpole (Australia).

Striker (forwards)

Back Row

8 number eight

The number eight (Number Eight) is the only position without a specific designation. This player combines the physical strength of a striker and the technical skills of a player from the back line. The number eight controls the movement of the scrum and passes the ball to the scrum half. They are also used to capture the ball in the back of the alley. Single number eights are versatile enough to play as a wing or second row striker as well.

Number eight in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand), Mervyn Davies (Wales), Morné du Plessis (South Africa), Hennie Muller (South Africa) and Brian Lochore (New Zealand).

6 and 7 wingers

Winger (Blindside- and open side flanker) are those players who take the least firmly assigned tasks and can therefore respond most flexibly to changing game situations. For this reason, they must have qualities as all-rounders; they have to be fast, strong and have mastery of tackling and passing. During the scrum they protect their own scrum half from the opposing one.

Winger in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Jean-Pierre Rives (France), Jean Prat (France), Michael Jones (New Zealand), Ian Kirkpatrick (New Zealand), David Gallaher (New Zealand), Wavell Wakefield (England) and Francois Pienaar (South Africa).

Second row

4 and 5 second-row strikers

Second row strikers (locks) are usually the team’s tallest players and are the main players in the lane. In this game situation you have to jump as high as possible to catch the ball and pass it to the scrum half or at least to touch the ball first so that it falls on your own side. In the crush, the second row strikers stand between the two pillars and the hooker and create the necessary push forward.

Second row strikers in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Willie John McBride (Ireland), Colin Meads (New Zealand), Frik du Preez (South Africa), Gordon Brown (Scotland), Bill Beaumont (England), John Eales (Australia) ), Martin Johnson (England) and Brian Lochore (New Zealand).

Front Row

2 hookers

The hooker uses his feet to "hook" the ball in the crowd. Because of the pressure created by the crowd, this position is considered one of the most dangerous. Since a hooker is usually the smallest player in the front team, but also the one with the best technical skills, he throws the ball into the field at the alley.

Hakler in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand) and Keith Wood (Ireland).

1 left pillar and 3 right pillar

The task of the left (loosehead prop) and right (tighthead prop) pillars is to provide support in the crowd and in the alley. Together with the second row, they are responsible for moving forward in the crowd, so they have to be particularly strong. Only pillars and hookers are allowed to carry out the scrum, since with weaker players the scrum would collapse and there would be a great risk of injury.

Pillars in the International Rugby Hall of Fame are: Wilson Whineray (New Zealand) and Syd Millar (Ireland).

See also