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Rugby Positions by the Numbers, Part I: The Front Row

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Rugby Positions by the Numbers
Rugby Positions by the Numbers, Part I: The Front Row
Rugby World Cup

Although rugby can be seem complicated to the uninitiated, one of rugby’s rules makes it easier to understand and follow: the number on a player’s uniform corresponds directly to the position they play. These are:

  1. Loose-head prop
  2. Hooker
  3. Tight-head prop
  4. Lock
  5. Lock
  6. Strong-side flanker
  7. Weak-side flanker
  8. Number 8
  9. Scrumhalf
  10. Flyhalf
  11. Left wing
  12. Inside center
  13. Outside center
  14. Right wing
  15. Fullback

A rugby club is allowed six or seven substitutions (depending on the level of play) per match, so frequently you will see players wearing numbers from 16 to 23 on the pitch. Unfortunately, there are no conventions for which substitute wears which number, in part because substitutions during a match are a relatively recent development.

So let’s focus on the numbers that do have meaning. This series functions as a brief introduction to the different positions on a rugby club, their roles and responsibilities, and the types of people that end up playing them.

Since the positions tend to operate in pods of two or three during a match, working together and performing similar tasks, I’m going to structure this series in the same way, i.e. part I will concern the front row (numbers 1, 2, and 3), part II will concern the locks (4 and 5), part III the back row (6, 7, and 8), part IV the halfbacks (9 and 10), part V the centers (12 and 13) and finally part VI the wings and fullback (11, 14, and 15).

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