Rugby prop

There are two positions of rugby prop, 'loose head' and 'tight head'. Solid build and great strength? One of these power positions may suit you.

Where props play

The props are two of the eight 'forwards' in a team

The two props with the hooker between them form the 'front row' in each scrum.

The prop-hooker-prop combination in blue are bound together and preparing to pack into a scrum with their opponents...

Rugby props in the front row preparing to form a scrum Rugby props in the front row preparing to form a scrum

Rugby props in the front row preparing to form a scrum Rugby props in the front row preparing to form a scrum

Props should be square, well cubes might be better!

  • the more muscle the better
  • the tougher the better
  • the stronger the better
  • the more intimidating the better

Packing in to a scrum is very physically demanding. A short, thick, muscular neck is a really useful as it will reduce the risk of injury

Rugby Props in scrums

There are frequent stoppages in rugby when rules are broken in a minor way. Scrums are used to restart play.

The two packs attempt to get control of the ball.

A scrum is formed when 8 players from each team (the forwards) bind together into their own pack of players, facing the opposition pack.

After a solemn incantation from the match official,

"Crouch, Touch, Pause, ENGAGE!" or "Crouch, Touch, SET!" (the latest being trialled is "Crouch, Bind, SET!")

the two opposing packs, bent double, form a scrum, with the heads and necks of the front rows meshing in a specified way.

Loose-head has an opposition head on only one side of his/her head.

Tight-head has his/her head between the heads of two opponents.

The props, bound together forming self-supporting archways, bear a tremendous amount of strain!

They attempt to stay on their feet and the scrum-half 'feeds the scrum' by rolling the ball into the tunnel that has been formed.

Then the real struggle begins!

As a prop you use your bulk and strength along with the other members of the scrum to

  • if you manage to get the ball, stabalise the scrum so the ball travels well through the scrum and appears at the rear for the scrum-half to pick up
  • if they manage to get the ball, de-stabalise the scrum so they can`t easily control the ball. You may even so so well you push them off the ball and you get it back.

There is a huge amount of technical know-how involved, apparently!

I remember reading about a scrummaging coach working with an existing national scrum. The rugby public told not to expect too much because they had only been at it a year!

Props in lineouts

When the ball goes out of play over the sideline, a lineout restarts play.

Rugby props lift rugby locks so the locks can more easily catch the ball, thrown in by the hooker.

Props also, at times, break through the lineout and maul the ball forward, struggling against opponents to make ground or prevent the opposition forwards from breaking through.

All of this needs great strength and endurance.

Rugby Prop - in general play

Props tend to be the strongest and heaviest players on the field.

They work hard to carry the ball forward often into the strongest part of the opposition aiming to make ground and tire the opposition.

Props must also work co-operatively with other forwards to surge upfield, slipping the ball from one player to another to outwit the defence.

In defense they take pride in blunting attacks by opposition forwards and forming impenetrable lines of defence near the goal-line.

Look at size details of elite players on our pages about player sizes.

A prop summary

It`s very much about size, strength, technique, endurance and pride.

And remember it`s rugby - you still need to be able to keep up around the field!

No wonder they don`t...
...appear to practice sidesteps.

But you should!
Props can do it!
It will happen!

Like it? Questions? Comment below!!