RUGBY PLAYER POSITIONS
In women’s rugby, there is a position on the field for everyone. Each position requires a different skill set and often a different physical build. In total there are fifteen different positions in women’s rugby, split into two groups known as forwards and backs.
Each position is marked with a number, but other common names are used when referring to certain positions. Check out our jargon buster below to get yourself familiar with the positions and different terms used for them.
Let’s start with the forwards. Generally, forwards tend to be built bigger and stronger than the backs. They are involved in intense physical aspects of the game such as scrummaging, rucking and mauling.
Props (#1 and #3)
Props play in the front row of the scrum either side of the hooker, and are divided into loose head prop (#1) and tight head prop (#3). They are often the more well-built players on the field, as these positions are physically demanding.
The hooker wears the #2 shirt and plays in the centre of the scum between both props. The hooker is responsible for ‘hooking’ the ball back to her team during the scrum, done with the back heel. During lineouts, the hooker is usually responsible for throwing the ball in, a big responsibility which requires a decent amount of practice.
Second Row or Locks (#4 and #5)
Second row players tend to be the tallest on the pitch; they fit between both props in the scrum and lock everything together. They often guide the ball through to the rear of the scrum. Due to the height required for this position, second row players are usually lifted in the lineout.
Flankers (#6 and #7)
Flankers attach themselves to both sides of the scrum and are often the first ones to break off and make a tackle.
Number eight (#8)
The number eight is positioned at the back of the scrum, binding onto both of the second rows. They will help to control the ball when it passes back. Typically, the eight is usually quick to defend off a scrum, but also strong enough to make some big carries.
Scrum-half or Half-back (#9)
The number nine often acts as the main link between the forwards and works closely with the number ten. This player feeds the ball into the scrum and is often found digging the ball out of rucks and mauls. This position calls for a fair amount of kicking, so the player will need to be skilled in that department.
The number ten is traditionally a keen decision maker in the game: as they are positioned in the middle of the action, they are able to get a good overview of how play is unfolding. They work closely with the nine and will often command the direction of the game.
Centres (#12 and #13)
Both centres need to be good runners, with an eye for identifying and exploiting gaps in the opposition’s defensive set up. The centres will get the ball from the fly half and are responsible for gaining ground at high speed in attempt to break through the opposition’s defensive line.
Wings (#11 and #14)
Positioned both edges of the pitch, wingers are usually the fastest players on the team. Players in this position need to have the capacity to accelerate quickly, as they are often the ones responsible for scoring tries.
Fullbacks are the last line of defence and play behind the rest of the back line, operating as individuals – so they are usually highly skilled at receiving kicks and confident at making big, try saving tackles.