Rugby is the ‘game for everyone’, whatever your size or skillset there is a place for you in the team. The authors of Rugby Revealed, Gavin Hickie and Eilidh Donaldson, spoke to over 100 top players and coaches when writing the guide to the game. They found that while there were skillsets for each position, most players did not start in the position they are known for playing.
Here is the Rugby Revealed quick guide to finding your position and some of the top stars’ stories.
Physically strong and mentally tough? You are a Prop
Props live to scrummage but it is not something which comes naturally as Italy’s Martin Castrogiovanni found. “In my first game of rugby, I played in the second row and my scrummaging was terrible! My coach told me I had the physical attributes of a prop of the future.”
Enjoy variety and technical challenges? You are a Hooker
Being composed, confident and mentally tough helps a hooker throw at the lineout. It’s a skill that helped France’s Benjamin Kayser find his position. “I played No 8 and loosehead. One day the hooker got injured and I’d played a lot of basketball so the boys said Ben can throw and it went well.”
Like contesting the ball in the air and ready to ruck? You are a Lock
Mobile and versatile, a lock’s height an advantage at the lineout and they don’t come much taller than Ireland’s Devin Toner. “I started at number 8 but then I hit 6’4 and didn’t stop until 6’10! So naturally I was put into the second row.”
Love hardwork and being at the heart of the action? You are a Back Row
Wales’ Sam Warburton’s jersey is definitely made of ‘captain material’ but it’s also featured the No 7 since his early days. “I’ve played open side since being selected to play there for Cardiff schools under 11’s and loved the position ever since.”
Can you handle pressure and love directing the play? You are a Scrum Half
The 9 and 10 on the team have to have a good understanding of each other’s roles. No surprise then that players like Ben Youngs switch between the two positions. “I was a 10 until I was 16 then the coach felt I would be a better scrum half.”
Strategic thinker who thrives making decisions under pressure? You are a Fly Half
England’s George Ford is a rugby league convert who has been able to successfully transfer his skills because of his experience in a similar position. “I started playing rugby league and there’s quite a lot of skills and attributes that crossover with standoff and fly half.”
Powerful, pacey, and possess an analytical mind? You are a Centre
Jamie Roberts had to think quickly when he was first chosen to play at centre for Wales. “I did not play centre until my third cap for Wales. The coach asked me, “How much rugby have you played at 12?” The last time was at U15s but I told him, “Yeah, I’ve played a bit of 12 in my time”.
Quick feet and love to score? You are a Winger
The fleet of foot George North made his mark on the wing but had he not been injured the Welsh back row might have benefited. “I was playing 7 in college, picked up a collarbone injury. I came back faster than before, moved onto the wing and I haven’t looked back!”
Versatile, fearless, and able to read the game? You are a Full Back
Ireland’s Rob Kearney definitely played to his strengths when he chose full back over wing. “I always felt my skillset was a better fit at full back on the global stage because there are so many monster, powerful guys on the wing with an enormous amount of pace.”