Rugby union positions and their roles

Rugby union has never been a ‘one-size-fits-all’ sort of game. With 15 players on a team, each having a different job to do, it is one of the most varied sports.Each position is key to the overall effectiveness of the team.

The eight forwards were traditionally larger than the seven backs, who would have often been
shorter and more mobile; however, today’s game sees much more fluidity between players.
1. Prop
There are two props in a team: loosehead and tighthead. They are key to the scrum and provide
power, so strength is key. Along with the hooker, they make up the front row of the scrum. Their
roles will also see them involved in lots of rucks and mauls.
2. Hooker
The hooker holds a vital role. It is the hooker who binds in the scrum between the props and has
the job of hooking the ball back with his feet to their team. They must also be able to throw the
ball, as the hooker is the player to throw in from the lineout.
3. Scrum-half
The scrum-half is a playmaker involved in both attack and defence. Players must be decision-
makers and be able to organise their teammates.

4. Fly-half
This is another high-pressure role with lots of decisions to make. The fly-half must have great
ball-handling skills and a solid kicking game. They must have vision and integrate attack with
the defence.
5. Winger
As in many sports, there is a left wing and a right wing. Each must have pace and the agility to
dodge tackles and complete attacking moves.
6. Full-back
The full-back is the final defender and one of the first to make an attacking break. They must
have the complete set of skills: ball-handling, kicking and tackling. This is a high-pressure
For more information and to see the full list of positions and their roles, check out the guide at
England Rugby.

Tailoring your rugby training drills to each position will help to hone the specific skills required
for each role, although it is also important to train the squad for fitness and stamina. Some
useful rugby training drills are found online at Sportplan and other providers.
Whichever position you choose, there is no substitute for practice, fitness and teamwork.