Rugby teams consist of 15 players split into forwards and backs (see Rugby 101 #1). The 8 forwards and 7 backs are split into several other positions. Here is a breakdown of those positions and what they add to the game:
1. Hooker - Hookers hook the ball at scrums. They come in all shapes and sizes, though usually short and round. They have heard every joke imaginable about being called a hooker. They especially like the one where you go: ‘Your mom’s a hooker…’
2 and 3. Props - Props (or to use the traditional name ‘Big Fat Lads’) are the big fat lads on the team. They form up either side of the Hooker in a scrum, and their sole purpose is to be hard to push over; a job many Backs point out could be done by a wall of concrete, only with more intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, the African Elephant is not the world’s largest land mammal; Tony Woodcock is.
4 and 5. Second Rows - Usually the tallest people on the pitch, Second Rows are the true giants of Rugby. They’re the guys you see hoiked up during line-outs. This is not because they are the tallest, but because if they WERE to be dropped on their heads, they are the players where permanent brain damage would be least noticeable.
6 and 7. Flankers - Flankers are usually the the guys on the pitch that tackle hardest, run hardest, push hardest and are generally the hardest guys on the pitch. It is not uncommon for Flankers to hit people on the fringes of scrums and rucks so hard, that they land 30 seconds in the past.
8. Number 8 - Number 8s are the anchor of the scrum, bringing up the rear of a pile of men (literally), with conviction.
9. Scrum Half - The most annoying little pricks on the pitch. They’re small, nimble and complain a lot. They think they’re essential to a successful Rugby team, when realistically their job could be done by a child (or Peter Stringer, same thing). Scrum halves think that they should be applauded for box-kicking a ball out of danger, when really, everyone else thinks they’re a pussy.
10. Fly Half - The second most annoying prick on the pitch is the fly-half; a hair stylist/footballer who’s personal goal is to pretend to play rugby in order to get girls. They do this with their brightly coloured boots, flowing locks of hair and pristine kit. There is nothing more satisfying than dumping a fly-half on his head, though don’t expect their hair to be messed up; fly-halves can withstand lethal doses of hair gel that would kill other humans.
11 and 14. Wingers - These are the fastest guys on the pitch. Wingers are also usually very quiet, owing to the fact that the vast majority do not have the ability to walk and talk at the same time. Wingers need to be able to cope with horrendous miss-passes from ambitious Fly-halves who seem to think that a 40 yard spin pass to a man who has already overtaken them, is better than a 10 yard pass to a Centre with a quarter mile gap in front of him.
12 and 13. Centres - Without Centres screaming at them and threatening them with horrendous acts of violence, Fly-halves would kick anything and everything at the bat of an eyelid. Centres add some defensive muscle to the backs and, if the back line were an evolutionary progression, the Centres are the hulking man-beasts to the Fly-half’s hunchbacked gimp monkey, and the Scrum-halfs newt-like slimeball.
15. Full-Back - The Full-back or ‘Far Away Blame Boy’ is your last line of defence. They need to be able to catch, kick and run under pressure. If they fail to do any one of these even once in their lifetime, they should be abused mercilessly, called names and accidently on purpose kicked in rucks. Full backs were introduced so that even the gangly freak at school could play rugby.
Or they’ll be like Jason Robinson and be the baddest man on the pitch.