Rugby Basics: The Different Positions And Their Roles

Before the game took off and had its own set of rules, there was no limit to how many players can join in a game of rugby at a time. Eventually, as the game became widespread, a fixed number of players became necessary. This allowed players to pick their preferred positions and develop particular skill sets. Now, the official number of players in a rugby game is 15 and they are grouped into two major groups:

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Forwards are usually the heavier and bulkier players because these positions require strength and endurance. In a team, there should be 8 forwards: loose and tight props, a hooker, two locks, two flankers, and the number 8. The first three occupy the front row in a scrum. The goal in a scrum is to bind together to push back the opposing team. In the second row, the two locks complete the “tight five”, the collective term for the 5 players that should be tightly bonded during a scrum. The back row consists of the two flankers and the number 8. The flankers have one arm around each of the lockers while the big number 8 binds the two lockers together with both arms.

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The backs are the more agile members of the team and there should be 7 of them. These are usually the smaller and faster members and they tend to be more elusive and difficult to catch. The goal of the backs is to find the hole in the opposing team’s defense. Backs need to be good at handing the ball and they need to be able to run. There are two half-backs: the scrum half, who links the forwards and backs and the fly half, who is the one calling the shots. The other backs are the three-quarters and the full back. The latter is considered to be the last line of defense.

Hi, I’m Jack Bonner and my sport is rugby. Follow this Facebook page for more interesting insights and articles on rugby.


Rugby Basics: The Core Skills

Like any other sport, there are certain skills you must possess and hone to become a better player. It’s not enough to be good; you have to aim to be the best you can be. Here are the core skills you need to learn to be a pro Rugby player:

Ball handling

From how to grip the ball properly, to passing and catching the ball, mastering these basics can make all the difference. Practice a firm two-handed or one-handed grip on the rugby ball and do some drills for catching and passing. Whatever position you’re in, you have to be adept in these basic skills.

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You have to be fast but you also have to know when to slow down. Proper control and balance is a must for a rugby player. Focus on the key running skills like acceleration, deceleration, and changing directions.


A player should know a variety of ways to tackle their opponent by practicing the techniques in different situations. This is highly important and each player should be competent even in one-on-one scenarios.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 25: Willie le Roux of South Africa tackled by Charles Piutau of New Zealand during The Castle Lager Rugby Championship 2015 match between South Africa and New Zealand at Emirates Airline Park on July 25, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)
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Practice games and actual games are vastly different so it’s a good idea to train decision-making skills as well. Being able to make decisions while under pressure can be crucial to the results of the game.

Hello! I am Jack Bonner and I love playing Rugby. Follow this Twitter account to know more about the sport and other tips and tricks to play the game.