Position Guide: The Role of Rugby Players on the Field

Understanding the positions of rugby players can make a match much easier to follow. Rugby is a sport that is wildly popular in countries around the world and is gaining recognition in the US. Part of its appeal is the physicality involved without the protection of helmets or padding. Rugby can be a confusing sport, with positions that many people are unfamiliar with. 

Fullback
The fullback is the last line of defense in protecting the goal. His job is to stop other rugby players who have made it past the rest of his team. The fullback must be fast. The fullback is often a vocal member of the team, alerting teammates to attacks they may not see.

Wing
There are two wings (also known as wingers) on a rugby team: left and right. Their role is to move the play up the side quickly. They must be good with their feet and be capable of controlled kicking. They must be able to receive passes from teammates as well as get back with the defense when necessary.

Centre
There are two centres (inside and outside). They run inside the wings but up the middle of the field. In addition to having exceptional ball handling skills, centres must be able to tackle. Many times the centre makes it possible for a winger to score.

Halves
The scrum-half and the fly-half make up this position. The job of the halves is to move the ball, making ball handling and kicking skills important. They must also be able to play defense, stopping the opposing team from getting too far into their territory.

Hooker
Also known as the "rake," the hooker is an essential part of a scrimmage. The hooker uses his body, especially his shoulder, to muscle through the other players. The hooker must be fast, as he may have to get back to play defense.

Props
The two props are known as the bookends, the props play on the outside of the hooker. Props are the biggest players on the team and they use their size to tackle the competition and move the ball up the field.

Forwards
There are two second-row forwards. They do a lot of tackling and moving the ball forward. The loose forward, or lock, is responsible for seeing what needs to be done to accomplish the team's goal. The loose forward must be fast and able to tackle. 

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