Rugby positions: Forward
Image credit: SportSG
With 15 players on each team, everyone has a different role to play in a game of rugby. There are eight forwards in each side, so find out what each member of the pack is supposed to do.
There are two props in the front row of every team. By being on both sides of the hooker, these two players prop up the hooker in the scrum. The one on the hooker’s left is called the
loose head prop (no. 1), while the other is called the tight head prop (no. 3). Besides giving the hooker extra stability during a scrum, they are responsible for lifting the locks during a line-out and carrying the ball in open play.
The hooker (no. 2) is usually the player that throws the ball in during a line-out. As the name indicates, this player is the one responsible for hooking the ball and getting possession for his team during a scrum. The hooker also faces a lot of tackling from opponents as he is expected to carry the ball forwards.
Forming the second row in a scrum, the two locks are usually the tallest players and as a result, are the main jumpers during a line-out. As such, the locks - numbers four and five - are also the ones competing for kick-offs, and as their name suggests, lock the scrum securely. These players are significantly larger in physique, and the strongest in the team because of the physical demands on them as the ‘engine room’ of the forward pack.
There are two flankers in each team - the open-side flanker (no.7) and the blind-side flanker(no.6). The flankers are tasked with the huge responsibility of winning possession at every breakdown in open play. As such, they are usually the fastest forwards in the pack and need to possess huge amounts of stamina to be able to be within striking distance of the ball at all times. In attack, their roles is to support the backs in open play and are often involved in rucks and mauls to gain possession. Open-side flankers are usually smaller in physical size and faster than the blind-side flankers. Both are located at the sides of a scrum.
One of the players who sees the most tackling, the number eight is also the only player without a position name. They usually work together with the two flankers as a unit and are called the
‘loose trio’. The no.8 is also a devastating runner with the ball and whenever opportunities
present itself, picks up the ball from the back of the scrum to attack by running at defences.
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