• Rugby Positions Hooker

    Rugby Positions Hooker

    The rugby positions Hooker is one of the most important positions on the rugby pitch, in that it comes with a slew of responsibilities that other positions on the team do not have to worry about. While it is a common misconception that the “hooker” gets his name from his dashing good looks and tendency to sleep with anything that moves, this is not the case. The hooker’s title actually comes from his position in the scrum.

    In the scrum, the hooker is located in the middle of the front row, lovingly wedged between the two props. Before the scrum begins, the hooker calls in his props, who then bind onto his waist, either on the shorts or on the jersey, around his back. The props then pull tight, lifting the hooker slightly off the ground. The hooker then calls in his second rows, who wedge their heads on either side of the hooker’s thighs, between him and the props.

    When the scrum begins, the hooker signals the scrum half to put the ball into the scrum. From there, the hooker “hooks” the ball (hence the name hooker) with his foot towards the back of the scrum, and then gives the call for the scrum to drive forward, forcing the opposing team off the ball. This is where the hooker gets his name.

    The hooker is also responsible for throwing the ball in on line outs, and in general making the calls for the line outs based on what he sees from the opposing line and the positioning on the field. The hooker, depending on the complexity of his team’s line out, will call for either a maul or the ball to come off the top, and will signal whether to lift either the front or the back pod in the line out. When the player in the pod he has called is tossed into the air, the hooker will throw the ball in from the sideline, attempting to place the ball so that it is in the air precisely at the high point of the player’s jump he is throwing to by the time his jumper gets there. From there, the hooker will either bind into the appropriate place on the maul, or attempt to get across the field to be present at the first breakdown in play to either be a part of the ruck or to run support.

    Although the hooker is a part of the front row, oftentimes hookers will play their position more like a loose forward than a front row player. Due to the fact that they are often smaller and lighter than props they are able to move about more freely across the field and be involved in more of the action without wearing down as quickly as heavier forwards. Hooker is a very versatile position, as the hooker can be an effective rucker and avid tackler, and still have the mobility to run the ball effectively as either a banger or a support runner for the back line.

     

    As you can see, the position of hooker is an extremely important position, due to his responsibility in scrums and lineouts. However, due to its versatility, it is also a very fun position to play. Rumor has it that teams tend to reserve the position of hooker for only the most talented and physically capable members of the team. I, myself, cannot speak to the veracity of this statement, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

     

    Written by, Matt Mathis, hooker for the Arkansas Gryphons

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