Within Rugby Union there are 15 players who take to the pitch, they will either fall into the two following categories; forwards and backs. Forwards – There are 8 forwards who form the scrum. These are the guys that get stuck in and primarily are there to defend their territory and win any scrums, rucks and mauls. They can usually be identified by their cauliflower ears, flat noses and missing teeth. Backs – In contrast to the forwards, the backs are the players with speed and flair. These are the players who control the running game, and amongst this motley crew will be your try scorers.Both the backs and the forwards are joined together by your scrum half and fly half, who act as the tacticians of the game. These two positions control the flow of play between the pack (forwards) and the backs.
Forwards – There are 8 forwards who form the scrum. These are the guys that get stuck in and primarily are there to defend their territory and win any scrums, rucks and mauls. They can usually be identified by their cauliflower ears, flat noses and missing teeth.
1 – ‘Loosehead Prop’. Brute No.1 who is usually the stockiest player on the pitch. Essential player for winning scrums and line-outs.
2 – ‘Hooker’. A front row forward that gets stuck in and is essential for winning scrums. The Hookers is positioned between the two props and has to hook the ball (kick it back) out to the scrum-half.
3 – ‘Tighthead Prop’. Brute No.2 that, along with the Loosehead Prop, supports the hooker in the front row. Both props are mean and usually built to scare opponents!
4 – ‘2nd Row Forward’. You have two 2nd row forwards. These guys tend to be the tallest on the pitch which comes in handy during lineouts.
5 – ‘2nd Row Forward’. Another big player, see above.
6 – ‘Blindside Flanker’. Flankers fit on to the sides of the scrum and are looking to win any loose ball that comes from scrums. As part of the 3rd row of the pack these are the forwards that are also looking to score tries from scrum and line-out situations.
7 – ‘Openside Flanker’. The openside flanker is a ball winner, who can support backs on forward runs. His other key job is to knock seven shades of seaweed out of the opposition’s fly half.
8 – The (appropriately named) ‘Number 8’. The number 8 sits at the back of the pack and, like flankers, will be looking for loose balls and then supporting his backs when going forward. Plus they are the ones you see controlling the ball with their feet at the back of the scrum.
Backs – In contrast to the forwards, the backs are the players with speed and flair. These are the players who control the running game, and amongst this motley crew will be your try scorers.
9 – ‘Scrum Half’. A key position on the pitch that feeds the ball from scrums to his fly half or backs. Although usually one of the smallest players on the pitch, he also has to be one of the most physical as he’ll be getting into the thick of it throughout the game.
10 – ‘Fly Half’. The key decision-maker amongst the backs whose role is to distribute the ball. The fly- half is a guaranteed point scorer for your side as he will be the prominent kicker and drop goal specialist.
11 – ‘Left Wing’. Out on his own on the blindside, the left wingers job is to run like hell when he receives the ball, gain territory and score tries.
12 – ‘Inside Centre’. The centres tend to perform the defensive roles for the back, and are intricate to the ball getting to the more fast-footed wingers.
13 – ‘Outside Centre’. Good try scorers, the last man before the wingers. If these guys see an opportunity they go for it!
14 – ‘Right Wing’. Like the left wing, the right winger’s job is to hang around on the periphery until he gets passed the ball when he will hopefully explode upfield and score a try.
15 – ‘Full Back’. The full back is the last line of defence. Traditionally a very athletic player, he can make 50-60 yard dashes to score tries, but also need to be able to kick well from afar.