Rugby, a game of brute strength and strategic finesse, is often won or lost in the trenches. The forwards, comprising of the Front row, Second row, Flankers, and Number 8, are the powerhouse positions that often dictate the flow and outcome of the game. This blog post will delve into the unique roles and impacts of these positions, shedding light on the often underappreciated workhorses of rugby.


The Front Row

The Front row, consisting of two props and a hooker, is the foundation of any rugby team. Their primary role is to anchor the scrum, providing stability and power in this critical phase of play. They are also vital in line-outs, either lifting jumpers or competing for the ball themselves. But their role doesn't end there. In open play, they are expected to carry the ball, make tackles, and support their teammates in rucks and mauls.

Notable Front row players like Tendai Mtawarira and Dane Coles have revolutionized the position, showcasing that front rowers can be dynamic runners and skilled passers, not just scrum machines. Their performances underline the importance of the Front row and its evolution in modern rugby.

The Second Row

The Second row, or locks, are the tallest players on the team. They are the primary jumpers in line-outs, providing an aerial threat that the opposition must respect. In scrums, they push behind the Front row, adding their weight and power to the effort.

But like the Front row, their responsibilities extend into open play. They are expected to be everywhere, carrying the ball, making tackles, and contesting for possession at breakdowns. Players like Maro Itoje and Brodie Retallick epitomize the modern Second row player – athletic, mobile, and tireless, they are integral to their teams' success.

The Flankers and Number 8

The Loose Forwards (450 words): The Flankers and Number 8, collectively known as the loose forwards, are the most versatile players on the team. They need to be strong to survive in the scrum, fast to compete in open play, and skilled to handle the ball under pressure.

The Flankers, often the team's leading tacklers, are the first line of defense. They are also crucial in securing possession at breakdowns. The Number 8 controls the ball at the back of the scrum and is often used as a battering ram in attack. Players like Richie McCaw and Kieran Read have set the standard for loose forwards with their all-round skillsets and game intelligence.


The power house positions in rugby – the Front row, Second row, Flankers, and Number 8 – are the engine room of any team. They provide the platform from which the backs can launch their attacks and do the dirty work that often goes unnoticed


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Peter Breen