T Nation

Joined a Rugby Club

Well, I finally joined a rugby club, and played a game last night… The first time I had ever touched a rugby ball was during the pre-game warm-ups. I sat the first half so one of the players/coach could sorta explain what the hell was going on. For the second half, and likely for the rest of the season, it seems I am to be a flanker.

I am in love. My only regret concerning joining now is that I did not join years ago.

Now, my game plan was to just hit the opposing guy with the ball. If I got the ball, I ran. It seemed to work well, but there must be more to it than that. Positioning on the field is something I had no clue about.

Does anyone have any online resources that are great for rugby? I wouldn’t mind doing some reading on the sport as well as about my position. However, at this point, I do not know how to tell if a reading is good or not.

Does anyone have any recommendations or suggestions for a beginner such as myself?

-FC

Yeah, I really want to join a club next season. I hope it won’t interfere with my MMA stuff too much. I love footy though.

-chris

Watch as much of the game as possible for a start.
Use amazon or ebay as a book shop, read up on the game, demands, positional stuff.
Are you blindside? or openside?

some useful sites: -
http://www.rugbyrugby.com/

http://www.coachingrugby.com/

http://www.betterrugbycoaching.co.uk/

Practise basics a lot. Get yourself a ball and pass it, catch it etc. You wont be up to much if you cant do this, the rest is up to your coaches -learning to scrummage, lineouts, etc.

Good luck bro.

[quote]FlawlessCowboy wrote:
Well, I finally joined a rugby club, and played a game last night… The first time I had ever touched a rugby ball was during the pre-game warm-ups. I sat the first half so one of the players/coach could sorta explain what the hell was going on. For the second half, and likely for the rest of the season, it seems I am to be a flanker.

I am in love. My only regret concerning joining now is that I did not join years ago.

Now, my game plan was to just hit the opposing guy with the ball. If I got the ball, I ran. It seemed to work well, but there must be more to it than that. Positioning on the field is something I had no clue about.

Does anyone have any online resources that are great for rugby? I wouldn’t mind doing some reading on the sport as well as about my position. However, at this point, I do not know how to tell if a reading is good or not.

Does anyone have any recommendations or suggestions for a beginner such as myself?

-FC[/quote]

I agree with supermick, individual skill development is the best thing you can do at the moment.

Learn to pass, tackle, ruck, maul, scrummage and lineout lift/ jump.

I also think that body position (going into contact) is absolutely crucial. Always keep your hips lower than your shoulders; drive upwards; pump the legs; keep moving forward.

Flankers, in my opinion, should tackle everything in sight, be good at stealing opposition ball and always be first to the breakdown.

Enjoy the game and good luck!

IMO regardless of size ans speed (unless you are really slow) your first few games should be played on the wing, that way you get to watch the game and be involved, if you are lucky you will get your hands on the ball a few times and you will also get the chance to put a few tackles inj.

Flanker is a hard position to start at, you need to cover a lot of ground and be the first to everything, technique and experience will be a factor when you should be stepping over rucks or joining in with the back.

fair play to you for starting at flanker thats in at the deep end! Supermick listed some great sites, also try and ask other experienced players to spend some extra time in training going through positioning and rucking and mauling, also getting yout tackling tecnique correct straight away will be very good for your health, with good technique you will bring down anyone from any position, without knowing good technique (keeping your head to the outer side of opponents body for eg.) you risk hurting yourself.

Anyways best of luck

P.S. if the opposition scrum half come round your side of thr scrum ‘accidently’ tread down the back of his achilies as he goes behind you :slight_smile:

I love flanker. Its the best position on the field. Flankers need to be able to run nonstop. Off of a scrum the flanker needs to be aware of where the ball is at all times and must try to be the first one to the ball. Flankers are very versatile as well for they can drop into the backline to create overloads. To quote the US mens 7s head coach Al Caravelli “Flankers should be the most tired at the end of a game behind a good wing” (implying that wings should be switching fields all of the time.

A’ight, I’ll just attempt to add a few things in general here to what I originally said.

At this moment, I am unsure if I was openside or blindside; it seemed to switch some times. However, for the majority of the half, I do believe I may have been the blindside flanker. I have practices on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week… I imagine I will know more then.

My first step will be to get the proper equipment. Stupidy, I showed up without a mouthguard. Luckily, nothing major was taken to the mouth. Secondly, I need to get a ball. And thirdly, is it recommended to get one of those helmet thingies? You know, the ones that seem to provide a little padding and cover the ears. A few guys had them, but the majority did not. I suppose it would be nice to keep my dashing, rugged good looks… (Okay, okay, I know; with and attitude like that, I don’t deserve to be a forward; it’s more for comic relief)

From the little I have done, passing and catching seem to be fairly easy. Hopefully that trend continues.

As to being thrown in at flaker from the get-go, I think that has to do with having a football background of O-Line and Linebacker (I think that also helps with the hitting technique; rugby tackling seems to resemble that of football). Another reason may be that there were a lot of young guys (18, 19)(okay, so I’m only 21, but those couple years can be huge) playing last night, and they would have been eaten alive. I would wager that the opposition outweighed our team by a good 20 lbs per person. I am only 6’, and a little over 180 lbs, but I think I’m solid, strong, and fast enough to be able to pull of this position.

I do like the idea of being in a position that is to be the first to the breakdown… That is pretty much what I wanted to do anyway. And yes, I was damn tuckered by the end… Flying about and constantly hitting can take a bit out of you.

Thanks for the tips and recommendations, guys. It’s appreciated.

I’m already pumped for next week’s action!

-FC

Welcome to rugby!!

As a flanker you will need to:

  1. Be the fittest guy on the field.

  2. Be the fastest forward on the field.

  3. Have great acceleration.

  4. Have great anticipation of where the play is going to be so that you can get there first.

  5. Be strong enough to stay on your feet and protect the ball whilst withstandng the opposition trying to drive you out of the ruck that you got to first!

  6. If you are tall you will want to develop your vertical leap because they will use you as a jumping option in the lineout.

  7. As one of the fastest forwards the flanker is the most likely to get involved with backline moves, so you need good handling skills as well.

For base fitness I recommend running 400m intervals to help you withstand the immense cardiovascular demands of SPRINTING on and off for 80 minutes.

Also work on short 20-30m sprints to simulate darting from ruck to ruck. You also need to practice doing this after being on the ground in a ruck, so a good drill is to sprint, drop to the ground, get up as quick as you can and then sprint again. The extra effort needed to get off the ground really drains you.

Above all, LEARN THE RUCK LAWS!! As the first to arrive you are the most likely to be singled out by the ref for infringements such as entering the ruck from the side, not staying on your feet, diving over the top of the ruck etc etc, so know what you can and can’t do.

Tackling is like gridiron, but you are going to have to do it with minimal padding, only shoulder pads are allowed. You also have to get used to the possibility of getting hit by a player who has had a much longer run up than in gridiron. Trust me, a rubgy player who has great tackling technique can really hurt you!.

Helmets are good for confidence. I played flanker and one game when tackling a player I tore the top of my ear from the side of my head and needed a few stitches to fix it up. The next week I wore a helmet and felt much more confident, so I used it for the rest of the season. Because you are diving into rucks it’s easy to get a head injury, so I recommend them.

Good luck and let us know how you progress as you play more.

Cheers,

Ben

Congratulations on discovering the world’s best sport. I myself have played for 25 years and also coached for the last ten, five as a paid coach. So I have a bit of experience.

My advice:
Obviously get fit, lift and all the physical stuff.

Get a copy of the rulebook. Read it.

Watch videos of top level games as much as you can to learn the intricacies of the game.

Rugby is very complicated. Do you know what all these words mean?:
scrum, line-out, maul, ruck, tackled ball, rip, drive, drop-out, loop, skip, switch, clean-out, pillar, overlap, tram-lines, box-kick, etc. etc!

Get a ball. Learn to pass off both hands. Learn to screw pass (called spiral pass in some countries). Practice tapping the ball time and time again (drop the ball onto your foot and kick it up to about head height and catch it). Practice kicking if you like. I play flanker or No.8 but I can kick like a back. It is useful sometimes and gives your team options.

Probably, the knowledge aspect is most critical at this stage.

Obviously the standard of your league is not that high if you can play a game without ever having practised, but that’s no reason not to go all-out to improve.

I never thought of being American and having experience in playing A football, so its not quite in at the deep and for you then, thats cool.

I am very jealous our season does not start until mid sept :frowning:

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
Obviously the standard of your league is not that high if you can play a game without ever having practised, but that’s no reason not to go all-out to improve.[/quote]

I agree.

I figure there are a lot of reasons to go all-out and improve… I decided to start at the bottom league, and work my way up. Starting here will give me much chance to practice, play, and hone my skills. Next year, or the year after, we will see.

Thanks again guys.

-FC

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
I play flanker or No.8 but I can kick like a back.
[/quote]

If anyone’s interested, I played hooker on the same team (in New Zealand) as deanosumo, but not at the same time.

My coach was Pikey, on the senior firsts…I don’t know if he was around when deano played.

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
Practice kicking if you like. I play flanker or No.8 but I can kick like a back. It is useful sometimes and gives your team options.

[/quote]

This is what I did as well, mostly because I just loved seeing how far I could kick the ball. As a flanker I did not get many kicks in a game but I do remember once getting my team out of a tight spot right on our tryline by finding touch about 50-60m down field because the halfback and five-eight were buried in a ruck, so you never know when a skill that you don’t expect to use in a game will become handy, having practiced it will obviously help execution of the play.

[quote]Anthony Roberts wrote:
deanosumo wrote:
I play flanker or No.8 but I can kick like a back.

If anyone’s interested, I played hooker on the same team (in New Zealand) as deanosumo, but not at the same time.

My coach was Pikey, on the senior firsts…I don’t know if he was around when deano played.
[/quote]

My coaches were Ike and then Dan Moore, who is back playing now I hear. He took a couple of years off playing b/c he had a knee reconstruction. He was huge on fitness training- one of the reasons we won the competition in 2001 (my last season for Bays) was all the down-ups and tackle rotation drills we did on cold, wet Tuesday and Thursday nights down at Freyberg Park.

Ah, memories

[quote]bg100 wrote:
deanosumo wrote:
Practice kicking if you like. I play flanker or No.8 but I can kick like a back. It is useful sometimes and gives your team options.

This is what I did as well, mostly because I just loved seeing how far I could kick the ball. As a flanker I did not get many kicks in a game but I do remember once getting my team out of a tight spot right on our tryline by finding touch about 50-60m down field because the halfback and five-eight were buried in a ruck, so you never know when a skill that you don’t expect to use in a game will become handy, having practiced it will obviously help execution of the play.[/quote]

Yeah, as a forward I would only kick in general play about once a game on average- but it still helps if you can actually do it.

I sometimes take the kicks for touch from penalties and do kick-offs and drop-outs too.

I always kicked a bit but actually only got good at kicking when I started to coach, and actually focused on the mechanics involved, instead of just having a hack at the pill.

If you have free time, learn, and you will become more valuable to your team.

[quote]deanosumo wrote:
bg100 wrote:
deanosumo wrote:
Practice kicking if you like. I play flanker or No.8 but I can kick like a back. It is useful sometimes and gives your team options.

This is what I did as well, mostly because I just loved seeing how far I could kick the ball. As a flanker I did not get many kicks in a game but I do remember once getting my team out of a tight spot right on our tryline by finding touch about 50-60m down field because the halfback and five-eight were buried in a ruck, so you never know when a skill that you don’t expect to use in a game will become handy, having practiced it will obviously help execution of the play.

Yeah, as a forward I would only kick in general play about once a game on average- but it still helps if you can actually do it.

I sometimes take the kicks for touch from penalties and do kick-offs and drop-outs too.

I always kicked a bit but actually only got good at kicking when I started to coach, and actually focused on the mechanics involved, instead of just having a hack at the pill.

If you have free time, learn, and you will become more valuable to your team.[/quote]

This is what I did. I lived right next to a rugby ground and a few times per week I’d take a few balls there and pratice all sorts of kicks: torpedo punts, bombs, field goals, kickoffs and even goalkicking (you never know if your goalkicker will go off injured and then you get a penalty kick to win the game! I sucked at goalkicking though!)

My favourite drill was to kick from about 1 metre in from touch and try to gain as much distance before the ball went out. This made sure that I worked on technique and learnt how to make the ball move in the air based on how I dropped the ball on to my foot, which creates spin. I ended up being able to put a wicked “banana bend” on the kick which would send the ball into the field and then do almost a right angle turn into touch, gaining 40-50m instead of the usual 10 for kicks that close to touch.

Another good one is to try and make the ball land in between the “tram track” lines, which works on your accurracy.

Apart from kicks in general play, the only other likely kick a forward would get is the opportunity of a field goal when the five-eighth is out of play and someone else has to win the game at the death. It may end up being YOU, so you had better know how to drop kick!

Cheers,

Ben

Most of what has been said here is pretty good advice.

  1. Watch as much rugby as u can. There is a website available to canadians where you can basically pay a yearly rate and watch all the rugby from around the world. If you want to learn about backrow play focus on the southern hemisphere teams, but keep in mind South Africa play a left and right flanker, not openside and blindside.

  2. Learn the laws. Rugby doesn’t have ‘rules’ per se. There are laws which referees interpret. It is a totally different system to almost any other sport. It is also important to note the interpretations by a referee at club level will be vastly different to test level.

  3. Learn the basics.

Probably the most important thing, you need to get the fundamentals down. Passing, tackiling and all that is fairly easy to understand and master, but the hadest part for non-rugby players is the breakdown, particularly a ruck situation. Cleaning out will probably be the most dificult skill to master and it is probably the most improtant in all of rugby (and that goes double for flankers). In the late 1990’s rugby teams went away from set pieces and the breakdown as a focal point, however they have recently realised if you don’t dominate at set pieces and breakdowns you cannot win.

If you can master cleaning out and work at the breakdown you will go along way to cementing yourself a spot in the team and perhaps going further.

Man - what a topic to start my first posting !

I agree with most of what’s said above actually. I play Hooker for a Division 2 (read 3 due to the ‘premiership’) and the best advice I can give you is to study the game - not just your position but what players are doing in relation to the position you play.

One of the best ways is to watch a game and follow your position around to see where they go. Otherwise you can run your heart out and not be as effective as you would like to be.

From Canada I believe Kuduclub.com allows broadband download of a lot south african games and the Tri-nations starts this weekend on Saturday (probably friday midnight your time)morning uk time - its a good opportunity to watch and learn.

What a topic to debut my first post !

Welcome to the brotherhood of rugby

I play Hooker at a division 2 club in the uk

Study study study - you don;t want to run your heart out and feel like you’re not doing anything effective

The Tri-Nations starts this saturday - probably Friday night in canada and the games are available on broadband download from kuduclub.com

follow the back row around and you can see where you should be going - i’d hightlight richie mcCaw the NZ openside - he’s worldclass and an excellent example.

and most importantly - have fun knocking people over !

[quote]bluebear wrote:
What a topic to debut my first post !

Welcome to the brotherhood of rugby

I play Hooker at a division 2 club in the uk

Study study study - you don;t want to run your heart out and feel like you’re not doing anything effective

The Tri-Nations starts this saturday - probably Friday night in canada and the games are available on broadband download from kuduclub.com

follow the back row around and you can see where you should be going - i’d hightlight richie mcCaw the NZ openside - he’s worldclass and an excellent example.

and most importantly - have fun knocking people over ![/quote]

WHo do you play for bluebear?