A rugby wing needs good handling, running and defensive skills together with being speedy and elusive. Know what to expect and how you play this position.
2 of the 15 players on the field at any one time are wingers.
8 forwards are in the scrum.
The forwards in the scrum or line-out win the ball for the team.
They send it away, via the half-backs, possibly out to the centres and sometimes even as far as the wing!
The wings tend to attack and defend up and down the edges of the field.
Sometimes you will receive the ball with plenty of room to move. This is when you can take advantage of your superior speed.
Rugby wing with room to move
With the scrum near the centre of the field the team may choose to have one centre either side of the scrum, with a wing outside each one.
The side putting the ball into the scrum (or the lineout) tends to determine the way the backs line up.
It is usually the side "putting in" the ball which will get it back, so the other side prepares to defend by matching the opposing line-up.
As you can see, plenty has to go well before you get your hands on the ball if you are a winger. That`s why many wingers go looking for the ball.
Some make the mistake of doing it too much or at the wrong time and are caught out of position when it really matters.
Thank you to Wikipedia (the links below) where I confirmed the vital statistics... and the award to Shane Williams.
|Shane Williams||Jonah Lomu|
|1.7m (5' 7")||1.96m (6' 5")|
|80kg (12st 8lb)||120kg (18st 13lb)|
Shane - relatively small, fast, nimble, elusive. Shane was named IRB International Player in 2008 and is famous of course, especially for sidestepping.
Jonah - large, heavy, strong, fast - all used to advantage. Jonah is famous too, of course, especially for not sidestepping!
The two wings in a team tend to specialise
Which wing you choose is mostly about feeling comfortable and where you function best.
If you feel best
then you may be best on the left wing
If you feel best
then you may be best on the right wing
Of course if you are good with both sides of your body you will be good on either wing.
Good to have are...
Scrums are a contest for possession of the ball with a small advantage given to the non-offending team.
If your forwards win the ball it goes to the half-backs who make decisions about where the ball goes next.
The decisions they make greatly affect how each rugby wing is involved in the game.
Sometimes half-backs will kick for field position or into space.
As a winger you chase after the ball if it`s on your wing
Remember, you must be behind your kicker when the ball is kicked ahead or you are "offside" and must stay out of play.
Sometimes the half-backs attack by moving the ball to faster outside backs.
This is where you really shine as a rugby winger.
Or you may continue play with a clever kick
The half-backs may run, to get across the advantage line and/or move it to the centres.
You, as wing, position yourself in support of the centres with excellent rugby timing so you give them options in continuing the play.
If you are a rugby wing and defending you must tackle your opposite number.
You may find yourself in tricky situations. The opposition may be coming at you with the ball in hand and more players avilable than you have defenders to tackle them.
Believe in the abilty of the players inside you and stay in position to tackle your own player.
If possible, hold up and delay opposition play as much as possible. Cover more than one player by giving ground, staying between them, delaying committing to a tackle, always making certain you can take yours.
Fake a move to make a tackle but keep your distance. Aim to cover your player, slowing other players enough for them to be picked up by other players coming across to help.
Only when absolutely necessary tackle someone other than your opposite number.
It is sometimes necessary to drop back and position yourself to reduce open spaces which are tempting targets for long kicks by the opposition to improve field position.
You may also find you are needed to catch "up and unders", designed to to make ground and unnerve players trying to catch them.
The line-out restarts play after the ball has "gone into touch".
The duties of the rugby wing at line-out time are similar to scrum time.
You communicate with the centres so you know when the ball will be kicked ahead or whipped out to you when you have plenty of room to move especially if you sidestep!!
Always be aware that plans do sometimes go wrong and you must be prepared so that you can do anything required to rescue the situation.
Wings tend to be elusive, skillful, speedy, tactically aware players.
When you are on the wing, the play of the half-backs and centres has a great bearing on what you do.
Depending on circumstances you must be ready for any of the following
As you can see your role involves a lot of waiting around!
Use waiting time well
Rugby wingers have to
Then, when suddenly involved and there is little time for you to think or get your bearings, you know all about what`s happening.
You know as much as possible about the game so you don`t need to think, you act swiftly and decisively.
Put another way, thinking about other things when you are playing rugby is not a great idea so do it now!
Imagine for a moment
Lots of players imagine it`s a wonderful feeling for those who do it.
It`s not hard, you know, to believe.
Here`s a good example. Rugby wing Jason Robinson (British and Irish Lions) beats Chris Latham (Australia) with a great but subtle sidestep.
The commentator says "in and out". Carefully watch Robinson`s leg action from the side at around 18 seconds (and again at around 46 seconds).
Robinson makes it look so easy but I believe Latham would have picked off most other wingers given the same situation because they just don`t have the sidestepping skill demonstrated here.
Get your own sidestep - go to our EvtecHs page
When you are a good winger..
...you are a good winger because you practice.
You know when you learn you still have to practice enough but you enjoy it so much because you know you will be good.
Players like Gerald Davies and Jason Robinson were not born in their rugby positions, be like them...
To get more idea of the size and build of wings in relation to other positions look at details of elite players on our page player sizes.
Some famous players, good wingers...no special order!Gerald Davies
One skill common to many famous wingers is the the most elusive skill of all. Want to be one - make rugby sidesteps part of your game.