Rugby hooker

A rugby hooker is a specialist 'forward' position, playing a vital role in scrums and lineouts. Strong build and tough? This may be your position.

Hookers

You are one of the eight forwards in a team.

3 of these are the 'front row' forwards in the scrum

one of those is the hooker

with a prop on either side.

At lineouts hookers throw in the ball, like this

Rugby hooker throws in to a linout Rugby hooker throws in to a lineout

The opposing hooker defends the space between the touchline and the front of the lineout.

Hookers can be many shapes and sizes, but tend to be smaller versions of props, powerfully built, medium to tall.

  • muscular is good
  • toughness is good
  • strength is good

It's also good if you have a short and/or powerful neck. It reduces possibilty of being injured when you take part in scrums.

Lower body is important. Flexibility, agility, co-ordination are required to get into position in the scrum to strike at and win the ball

In scrums

There are numerous scrums in a game of rugby. You will be right in the middle of every one of them.

The props are there to support you and enable you to do your work.

The opposing front rows create a tunnel into which the scrum-half rolls the ball.

You, the hooker, immediatly strike for the ball using feet only!

The side putting in the ball always gets 'the loose head' as well. This means the ball is put in at the left where the loose head prop is.

The result is that when the ball is put in the tunnel the hooker of the non-offending team is nearer the ball than the other hooker and so usually gets the ball.

The hooker 'hooks' the ball backwards, it travels through the scrum and emerges at the back.

In lineouts

Hookers don't stand in the lineout, they stand behind the touch-line and throw the ball in to the other players.

Line-outs are frequent in rugby so you must get a good share of possession, especially from your own throw.

The hooker of the non-offending team (the offending team put the ball into touch) throws the ball. They throw it along an imaginary line between the two rows of the line-out to the position where the jumpers are waiting and so the throwing team gets a small advantage (knowing where it`s going)

Important for the hooker are

  • good communication with the other forwards
  • accurate throwing skills, down the line and correct height/speed
  • good observation and timing, the jumpers must be ready!

There is also a defensive role in the line-out. There is a 5-metre gap between the touch-line and the front of the line-out

The rugby hooker must ensure none of the opposition get through that gap.

In general play

Hookers vary in size in relation to the other forwards but they are forwards and need to be competitive and take pride in being tough.

Like props they carry the ball towards the opposing goal-line, often against fierce tackling, aiming to make progress and tire opponents.

Hookers must co-operate well with other forwards so skills needed are

  • mauling
  • rucking
  • these skills wear down and break opposition defences

Hookers take pride in defensive skills which allow them to use strength and endurance to repel opposition forwards.

Playing hooker is about strength, size, technique, skills, endurance and pride

Find out more about the size of hookers when you visit player sizes.

And the best rugby hookers if ever asked might agree with me and say learn to sidestep!

Just imagine a metre out from the line - sidestep! Over you go, TRY! You can do it.

Like it? Questions? Comment below!!