Sunday, 15 May 2011

Understand Rugby Union - The Forwards

In Rugby Union, the forwards are the players who line up with the numbers 1-8 on their backs. They are called forwards as they play more forward towards the opponent’s in-goal area than the backs on their team. The image below of the rugby pitch, shows the line up of two teams if there was a scrum on the have way line. As you can see the players numbered 1-8 are the closest to their opponent’s in-goal area.

Forwards are generally a lot bigger than the backs and physically stronger. If you look at the pitch again the players 1 to 3 are the front row. They are called the front row as they take their place as the front row in the scrum. They are generally stocky built players with very strong muscles in their neck and shoulders to take the force of the scrum. Numbers 4 and 5 are the locks or the second row. They are usually very tall as their primary function is gathering position in the lineout. The font row and the locks together are known as the ‘tight 5’. The backrow of the scrum, players 6 to 8 are usually the most athletic players on the team. They are physically very strong but they are also fast as they are ‘loose forwards’. This means they play further away from the ruck than the ‘tight five’ when they want to ball-carry. It is also the forwards job to protect the return of the ball after one of their players is tackled. This means preventing the other team’s players from robbing the ball form them.

In attack the forwards are used to make ‘the hard yards’ towards the opponent’s in-goal area. This involves using big powerful ball-carriers to charge at the opposition around the ruck to gain territory (this means gaining yards towards the opposing team’s in-goal area). Often these ball-carriers are not the fastest but are used to ‘suck in defenders’, as it takes a number of tacklers to bring them down. This makes it easier for the backs when the ball is spread away from the ruck as the opposing team will have fewer defenders free to defend their try-line. The forwards main role in defence is to defend the set pieces, the scrum and line out, and also defend around the rucks.

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