RUGBY 101 INFOGRAPHIC (click to download)
The Sport of Rugby Union
Full Back (15) : Fullbacks normally position themselves several metres behind the back line. They field any opposition kicks and are often the last line of defence should an opponent break through the back line. On attack they can enter the back line, usually near the centres or wings, with the aim of providing an extra person and overlapping the defending players.
Wing (11, 14) : The wings are generally positioned on the outside of the backline with the number 11 on the left and the number 14 on the right. Their primary function is to finish off moves and score tries. Wingers are usually the fastest players in the team and are either elusive runners, or more recently big, strong and able to break tackles.
Center (12, 13) : There are two centres in a game of rugby, inside centre (number 12) and outside centre (number 13). The inside centre usually stands close to the fly half or at first receiver on the other side of the scrum or breakdown. Like the fly half they generally possess a good kicking game and are good at reading the play and directing the attack. The centres main role is to provide space for the men outside them. They need to run good lines, have good passing skills and should be able to offload in a tackle.
Fly Half (10) : The Fly Half is usually the first to receive the ball from the scrum-half following a breakdown, lineout or scrum and need to be decisive with what actions to take and be effective at communicating with the outside backs. Good fly-halfs are calm, clear thinking and have the vision to direct effective attacking plays. Fly-halfs need good passing and kicking skills. Often the fly-half is the best kicker in the team and needs to be able to execute attacking kicks such as up-and-unders, grubbers and chip kicks as well as being able to kick for territory. Many fly-halfs are also the team's goal kickers
Scrum Half (9) : The scrum-half is the link between the forwards and the backs. They receive the ball from the lineout and remove the ball from the back of the scrum, usually passing it to the fly-half. They also feed the scrum and sometimes have to act as a fourth loose forward. Along with the fly-half they make many of the tactical decisions on the field. During general play the scrum-half is generally the player who receives the ball from the forwards and passes it to the backs.
Variants of Rugby Union
Rugby Sevens - played with only 7 players per side. A much faster-paced game compared to 15s. This is the version that will be played in the 2016 Olympics.
Touch Rugby - tackles in this version are made by simply touching the ball carrier with two hands. PRFU Rugby 101 sessions typically start with this version for newcomers.
Tag/Flag Rugby - participants wear belts with tags/flags. Removal of a tag by the opposing team is considered a "tackle".
Rugby Tens - played with 10 players per side.
Number Eight (8) : Number eight is the only position that does not have a specific name in English and is simply referred to as "number eight" or "eighthman". They bind between the locks at the back of the scrum, providing extra weight at the push. Number eights interact with the scrum-half at the back of the scrum to control and provide clean ball for the backs. They can also pick the ball from the back of the scrum and run with it or flick it to the scrum half. At lineouts they can be either another jumper or a lifter.
Flanker (6, 7) : The flanker's role is to tackle the opposition and try to steal the ball. The openside flanker binds to the side of the scrum that covers the greatest area, while the blindside covers the side nearest the side-line. They bind loosely to the side of the scrum, but still play an important role in keeping the props tight by pushing at an angle. They should be the first forward to a breakdown from a scrum or lineout and are expected to link with the backline or secure the ball at the tackle.
Locks (4, 5) : The locks form the second row and push against the front row during the scrum providing much of the power. They are almost always the tallest players on the team and are the primary targets when the ball is thrown in at line-outs. Locks must also have good catching ability. At the lineout the locks are supported by team mates allowing them to compete for the ball, either passing or tapping it to the scrumhalf or setting up a drive.
Hooker (2) : The hooker is positioned between the two props in the scrum and generally throws the ball into the lineout. After the scrumhalf has put the ball into the scrum they use their feet to "hook" the ball back and win possession for their team. Hookers can be any shape or size, but generally they have a short back and long arms to aid in binding to props. When the opposition is putting the ball into the scrum the hooker will either attempt to win the ball or try and disrupt the scrum.
Prop (1, 3) : The props "prop up" the hooker in the scrum. They form part of the front row of the scrum and push against the oppositions props. The loosehead prop is positioned to the left of the hooker and their head will be on the outside of the scrum when it engages. The tighthead is to the right of the hooker with their head positioned between the hooker and the opposition loosehead. The prop's main role is to provide stability at the scrum and support the hooker in quickly winning the ball. While scrummaging is still seen as their main responsibility, modern props are also expected to contribute in attack and defence.