Sunday, 15 May 2011

understand Rugby Union - The Backs

The backs in rugby union are the players who line up 9 to 15. They line up further back from the opposing team’s in-goal area than the forwards do. They run from deep with the ball in hand when the opposing team defence seems stretched. The backs are used in attack to run hard and fast at the opposing team to gain territory. They try and find gaps in the other teams defence by running different attacking lines and using creative back moves to unlock the defence. Backs are generally not as powerful as forwards but are usually much quicker and agile as they have to cover more ground in attack and defence.

The 9 and 10 are called the half-backs and they are the chief playmakers in the team. They decide when to keep the ball with the forwards, when to kick and when to bring their outside backs into the game. They keep their forwards moving forward either by kicking for territory or bringing in big ball-carriers to make ground. The number 9 is the scrumhalf. He is usually the best passer of the ball in the team as his chief role is to pass the ball from the ruck. The outhalf plays outside of the scrumhalf and his primary roles are kicking for territory and bringing his outside backs into play.

The outside backs are made up of the centres, the wingers and the fullback. The centres attack and defend the area in the middle of the field away from the ruck and wear the number 12 and 13 jerseys. They are usually the best all-round players who have good distribution of the ball and have a good mix of physicality and speed. They usually have a very good sidestep. The players numbered 11 and 14 are the wingers. They line up deeper than the centres do and attack and defend the channels closest to the touchline. They are usually the fastest players on the team there primary role is to score tries. The fullback is the player furthest away from the opposition’s in-goal area and they are the last line of defence. They have to be good fielders and kickers of the rugby ball. Most fullbacks in the professional game are great counter attackers with the ball who run with the ball from very deep.

These are generalisations though as some teams include fast powerful players in their backline instead especially in the centre to ‘bash up the middle’ which means to run hard straight lines in the midfield.
In the next article we will be looking at some of the basic rules of the game and what happens when a team break these rules.

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