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Matty_98 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matty_98 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Back-Row
    Posted: 02 May 2020 at 12:54
Hi, bit of an odd post I know but thought I’d give it a go. Asked a question on here a couple of years ago and had some really helpful replies and messages. I’ve spoken to coaches at the club about it but all the advice you get here is about fitting into the team and less about maybe becoming more of an all-round player.

I’m currently playing level 5 rugby and have ambitions, one day to play in the National League’s and represent England Counties. I’m not good enough yet but by playing every week at level 5, I’m hoping I’ll keep improving.

I currently play as a 6 or a 7 and was just curious as to what specific requirements coaches/teams at that level look for in a flanker. For example, I’m only 5’9 but I’m 97kg. At this level, I feel pretty comfortable playing at blindside, we’ve got other line-out options which allows me to just focus on playing in the loose, tackling, carrying and trying to jackle and turn the ball over which I’d say are my strengths as a player. But, at higher levels, will my lack of size be a negative in terms of not necessarily being as effective a line-out option as other players? Would moving position be a benefit or is my size fine to play as a flanker?

Obviously rugby is different at different levels so I was just curious as to what the most important skills are for a flanker playing in the National League’s and what I can do now to become more of an all-round player that could play well at that level? I’m just trying to get as much advice and information as possible really off different coaches, players and even supporters because it’s all useful and it’s all guidance that I can take on board.

Many thanks.


Edited by Matty_98 - 03 May 2020 at 10:24
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DGS Old Boy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DGS Old Boy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 13:37
Hi Matty, at risk of being shot to pieces by the experts on this forum, I would suggest that if your ambitions stretch to playing higher level rugby, you join a club (with a strong second team) that plays at the level you are aspiring to, you may only play second team initially so it may sound an odd suggestion but it is acknowledged that there are big gaps to overcome as a player moves up from (say) level five to (say) level three, so, joining a club playing at a higher level, will give you experience of training and playing with experienced good quality players and introduce you to the disciplines needed to play at a higher level.

You mention your size, again, in my view its not that important, if you are already with a higher level club the club will assess what you need to do to become a 1st team player, if that means changing position then the club will be able to help with coaching etc.

hope this helps.     
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front5 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote front5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 15:08
Some really sound advise DGS

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Edited by front5 - 02 May 2020 at 15:09
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FHLH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FHLH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 16:09
Agree entirely. If you feel you need to move positions, then your obvious choice is hooker, subject to the rules about crooked fed not being enforced - your learning curve wouldn't be too steep

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Raider999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 17:11
Originally posted by FHLH FHLH wrote:

Agree entirely. If you feel you need to move positions, then your obvious choice is hooker, subject to the rules about crooked fed not being enforced - your learning curve wouldn't be too steep

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JonDee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JonDee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 18:09
Nottingham were asked by a local club a few years ago to help convert a good player from a stocky centre to a hooker it took 2-3 years but Tom Youngs hasn't looked back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Pappashanga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pappashanga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 20:34
If you're near London, join Richmond. A lot of players from second and third teams end up in the first, often because of injuries. Toby Saysell, N1 player of the season and a loose forward, did it that way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Camquin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2020 at 21:00
His location says Merseyside - so that looks like he plays at Wirral and would need to join Caldy..
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greenpower View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote greenpower Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2020 at 08:04
his profile says his club is fylde  i

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thatbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2020 at 09:16
Who are Level 4 - not 5
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GreenThrough&Through Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 May 2020 at 10:21
I wouldn't worry about height if you are playing 7, a lot of excellent 7s less than 6ft. Hard as hell to shift when over the ball due to low body position. Neil Back springs to mind.

In terms of improving as an overall player, work on your handling and link up play. Regardless of what position you end up in, these will stand you in good stead.

As for moving clubs, I suppose this depends on whether you believe your current club can make the step up. If you're enjoying playing where you are and you feel valued then there's a lot to be said for being happy with your lot.
 However, if you feel it's time to move on, I strongly advise you talk to the coaches of the clubs you approach before making any move. How they see the game being played, how they look to utilise their back row etc. should influence your decision. Playing under a coach who wants a pack all in excess of 6ft; or sees their back row as just ball carriers is likely to see you hit a glass ceiling.
 Good coaches should also be prepared to discuss and help you improve to where both you and they want you to be.

Whatever you decide to do, best of luck with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blutarsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2020 at 10:34
Too small. Start eating, start practicing throwing in. 
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Pappashanga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pappashanga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2020 at 10:59
The best place for a smaller player ( other than scrum half) is hooker. A hooker these days is an all rounder. Accurate throwing in and lively play in the loose are the most desirable attributes. they do very little hooking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FHLH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2020 at 14:26
There's always wing (Grant Batty [NZ] 5' 5" 64kg) or scrum half (Faf de Clerk [SA] 5' 7.5" 88kg)
"My father told me big men fall just as quick as little ones, if you put a sword through their hearts."
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marigold View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marigold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2020 at 15:05
Pappa I suggest you failed to consult any props when you commented the best place for a smaller player is hooker-especially as they no longer need to hook! Play the position you most enjoy and are best at. I note the 2 flankers who played 1st XV for level 3 Richmond most of this season are of similar build to you. It is not how good you are on the scales but how good you are on the pitch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pappashanga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2020 at 16:40
Thanks Marigold. I was in fact a tight head prop. Jason Phipps  is relatively small and managed to hook successfully for Richmond in the Championship in 2018/19 and for a number of years before. Very fast and agile. I'm not suggesting anyone less than , say five foot nine, be a hooker. Ian McLauchlan was a very effective prop at at that height. Breadth is more important than height for strength.
Anyhow, I think we've all found out by the age of twenty whether we're strong, fast or neither.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote No 7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2020 at 23:32
Billy Harding , London Scottish use to be a backrow and was deemed too small and turned to hooker. He is an outstanding player. fast, good hands and very aggressive runner. This is at level 2. Another smaller flanker is Joe Bercis of Ampthill and district another superb player and very effective at the breakdown.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WEvans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2020 at 15:46
Lots of good "small" flankers and lots of bad "big" ones. At the end of the day size is one of the least important attributes of a good back-row given a reasonable starting point.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DGS Old Boy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2020 at 10:13
Originally posted by WEvans WEvans wrote:

Lots of good "small" flankers and lots of bad "big" ones. At the end of the day size is one of the least important attributes of a good back-row given a reasonable starting point.

There's an old saying "Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog"
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front5 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote front5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2020 at 19:35
Jack AlHuckleberry    Richmond previously DMP one of the over the ball at this level...

Play to your strengths and more than anything enjoy your rugby


Edited by front5 - 08 May 2020 at 19:37
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