What's the most important position on a rugby pitch?

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by The Alpha Bro, Apr 29, 2011.

?

What's the most important position

  1. Prop

    17 vote(s)
    31.5%
  2. Hooker

    3 vote(s)
    5.6%
  3. Second row

    2 vote(s)
    3.7%
  4. Flanker

    7 vote(s)
    13.0%
  5. 8

    3 vote(s)
    5.6%
  6. Scrum half

    13 vote(s)
    24.1%
  7. Out half

    22 vote(s)
    40.7%
  8. Wing

    2 vote(s)
    3.7%
  9. Centre

    5 vote(s)
    9.3%
  10. Full back

    3 vote(s)
    5.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Umaga's Witness

    Umaga's Witness First XV

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    Even more important is how clean the ball is from which the halfback can pass. But this isn’t a responsibility specific to any one position.
     
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  3. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose First XV

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    In Amercian football there is a clear hierarchy in what positions typically get the highest salaries. Quarterback, then left tackle (offensive lineman) then probably wide receivers, then maybe elite defenders.

    Is there such a salary hierarchy in rugby? If so, then there is your answer according to market forces.

    Top thread necromancy by the way finding this after 8 years. :D
     
  4. ragerancher

    ragerancher International

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    I went for 9 as they play the greatest role in dictating the pace of the game and a poor 9 can almost single handedly kill the momentum of the entire team in a way no other position can.

    A great 9 may not drag up the performance of a crap team but a crap 9 can bring down the performance of a great team.
     
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  5. Juggler

    Juggler Academy Player

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    Prop. Specifically tight head prop. And maybe hooker

    Most players of any shape/size/natural position could play anywhere else and not risk serious injury.

    Not so easy in the front row
     
  6. Umaga's Witness

    Umaga's Witness First XV

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    I think the highest salaries go to a range of positions; it's not position specific?

    I presume by "important" we mean in terms of match results. THe market forces are about profits, which include eg bums on seats, merchandise sales, etc. All blacks who are well past it can attract big money. Someone was telling me sbw was offered 8 million for a second division league team. I think a lot of the time there are no market forces dictating pay, it's just some rich dude wants his favourite players.

    Of course I am talking about the elite here, it's different for the run of the mill players.
     
  7. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur First XV

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    When you have the ball.

    Hard to generalize, but there are a few positions that generally have more impact when you are have exceptionally good/bad players there. Tighthead, OS flanker, SH, FH and FB come to mind.
    If forced to pick, probably tighthead.
     
  8. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    For me, this is a variable when it comes to rugby as it depends on the players themselves as well as the type of game you want to play and which positions are more important to your gameplan.

    A team who wants to dominate at scrums would pick props.
    A team who wants to dominate at lineouts would pick locks and hookers.
    A team who wants to dominate at rucks would pick flankers.
    A team who wants to play a quick game would pick scrumhalves, flyhalves, wingers and fullbacks.

    To illustrate, a team like Japan would invest more in flankers and backline players than other positions as it suits their style of play.
    South Africa on the other hand would invest more in forwards like props and locks.

    It's horses for courses. But it does help when you have quality in every position.
     
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  9. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker First XV

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    Did you have anyone in mind when you wrote that?

    We saw in the RWC final and again with Glaws and Sarries at the weekend that you just can’t do anything if you’re stuffed in the set piece. It’s not just losing those contests, it’s the ripple effect that comes from them.

    The set pieces are total unit efforts. So the answer’s clearly the front 5 en masse. If I had to pick one position I’d probably go for locks. They have to be powerful enough to make a difference in the scrum but athletic enough to rule the skies in line outs and restarts. Not to mention being big and horrible enough to generally intimidate. If your locks are on top you’re not going to go too far wrong.

    No point in having piano players if you haven’t got any piano shifters.
     
  10. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    My high school coach always said "Even the sexiest car in the world needs an engine"
     
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  11. Xsypher

    Xsypher Academy Player

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    I would take a slightly different approach and rank by scarcity of world class talent. In other words, which positions have the most significant gap between the very best and the rest. With that in mind:

    Tighthead
    Scrum-Half
    Fly-Half
    Hooker
    Loosehead
    Lock
    Full-Back (Would have been higher 10 years ago, but now it's less of a specialist position in most teams)
    No. 8
    Flanker
    Wing
    Centre

    Factors at play include required body type & specific skillset required (i.e. could a player from another position fill-in), alongside the impact that being significantly better/worse than an opponent in that position might have on the result.

    Note for the back-rowers: Having a good back row can obviously have a pretty sizeable impact, the reason they are fairly low on this list is because I feel like most nations have a larger pool of quality back-rowers than other positions and with the changing expectations of other forwards, the traditional workload of a flanker is becoming more dispersed around the rest of the pack.
     
  12. MikeTheNative

    MikeTheNative First XV

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    I find it to be whatever position I'm playing at the time......... :p
     
  13. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    I think this is basically the standard model most teams would have to look at to have a competitive team and ensure areas to improve where they might lack quality and depth.

    But you will have your exceptions.

    Take Australia as an example. Based on your model, They would rather look at the last couple of positions on your list. Australia haven't produced a top quality tighthead prop in the last 10 years IMHO. But what they have done was to have their average props learn ways to influence the scrums to their advantage instead of trying to overpower their opposition (which they can't do). For them, their backrow is the most important and the way their backrow can link with their backline.
     
  14. Derpus

    Derpus Bench Player

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    I think the better wingers are up there and they are definitely not the most important (though good finishers are criminally underrated).
     
  15. Derpus

    Derpus Bench Player

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    Tupou will eventually become the best THP in the world. AAA is also not half bad.

    What we actually haven't produced is a world class 10 since Larkham jumped in from fullback.

    Largely agree with your point though. Our obsession with loose forwards is wild.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  16. TRF_stormer2010

    TRF_stormer2010 Super Moderator

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    What's the golden thread amongst RWC winning teams? IMO the team with the best combination of top lock(s) and fly half. Locks IMO are more influential all round as they are key to scrum, line out and ruck whereas your fly half dictates position and kicks your penalties.

    1987 ? Before my time
    1991 Eales & Lynagh
    1995 Wiese & Stransky*
    1999 Eales & Larkham
    2003 Johnson & Wilkinson
    2007 Botha / Matfield & James* (here though I'd argue Monty in conjunction with Du Preez took on a lot of the work traditionally reserved for your 10 essentially taking James- a very limited 10- out of the picture)
    2011 Thorne / Whitelock & Cruden
    2015 Retalick / Barrett / Whitelock & Carter
    2019 Etzebeth / De Jager / Snyman & Pollard*

    (*Though in SA our scrum halves tend to take on a lot more ITO decision making and kicking than what other nations do so we almost need a better 9 than 10 which is where Van der Westhuizen, Du Preez & De Klerk come in as RWC winning 9s)
     
  17. Old Hooker

    Old Hooker First XV

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    On that rationale I’d have 8 far higher up that list.

    It’s a position for talismen and players like Read, Parisse and Picamoles are on the wane or gone.

    Binny’s lost his mojo. Faletau who is top class has spent far too much time injured.

    Feels like there’s a pretty big gap between Vermuelen and the rest.
     
  18. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose First XV

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    As pointed out in response to me before, some sugar daddies can skew things if they splash the cash for an overrated sugar daddy.

    NFL salaries are usually ruthlessly married to evaluation of the importance of a player due to the salary cap. I'd imagine rugby sides funded by unions (with finite resources) might be similar.
     
  19. DragonsRugbySupporter

    DragonsRugbySupporter Academy Player

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    RU is such a forward dominated sport i find it hard to see how someone can put a back as the most important position on the park. IMO, tight-head is the most important position in the forwards followed by the open-side. I would put 9 ahead of the out-half. In order, tight-head, open-side, nine, hooker, out-half, loose-head, lock, No.8, outside-centre, inside-centre, blind-side, full-back, wing
     
  20. Amiga500

    Amiga500 First XV

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    Its absolutely tight head prop.

    Themole said 15 points a game - I'd say 30 points a game in the worst circumstances.


    (and all those saying 10 need their head examined! Good pack, good scrum half and a back 3 who can chase a high ball and you don't even need a 10 to win a game)
     
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