These rugby players terms, lingo and jargon are part of sports
gamerisms, Define Your Game!
Part 2 of the glossary begins with a detailed listing of Union and
League player position numbers and names and further noted as Forwards
Alternate names as used in various countries are listed for each
Additionally, there is a collection of other rugby players terms
followed by terms, lingo and jargon of the game. Let's begin with the
focus on the players.
While many rugby player positions have similar names, there are some
game play differences.
There is no flanker position in rugby league where centers are
designated as left and right. Rugby union designates centers as inside
Also, there are different play styles to include size and strength of
players, assigned player duties and strategy methods.
Rugby Union teams have 15 players + subs. Rugby League teams have 13
players + subs.
Rugby Players Terms: Union position
numbers and names
1. Prop or Tight head or Loosehead
2. Hooker or Hook or Rake
3. Prop or Tight head or Loosehead
4. Lock or Second Row or Lock Forward
5. Locks or Second Row or Lock Forward
6. Flanker: Blindside or Breakaway or Loose Forwards
7. Flanker: Openside or Breakaway or Loose Forwards
8. Number 8 or Eight-man
Rugby Players Terms: Backs
9. Scrum-half or Half-back or Scrummie
10. Fly-half or Five-eighth or Fly or First Five
11. Left wing or Wing or Wingman
12. Inside centre or Centre
13. Outside centre or Centre
14. Right wing or Wing or Wingman
15.Fullback or Custodian or Sweeper
16 – 22=Replacements or Subs
Rugby Players Terms: League position
numbers and names
2. Right Wing Three-quarter
3. Right Centre Three-quarter
4. Left Centre Three-quarter
5. Left Wing Three-quarter
6. Stand-off Half or Five-eighth or Fly half
7. Scrum Half or Halfback
Rugby Players Terms: Forwards
8. Prop Forwards
10. Prop Forwards
11. Second Row Forwards
12. Second Row Forwards
13. Lock or Loose Forward
14 - 17=Replacements or Subs
Subs do not take the number of the player they have subbed, but rather
play with the number assigned at the start of the match.
Other Rugby Players Terms: Union B – L
Back 3: fullback and wingers
Back 5: centers, wings and full back
Front Row: props and hooker
Half Backs: scrum half and fly-half
Inside Backs: inside centre, fly-half and scrumhalf
Loose 5: back row and half backs
Loose Forwards or Loosies or Back row: flankers & number 8
Other Rugby Players Terms: Union M - T
Midfield: fly-half and centers
Outside Backs: outside centre, wings and full back
Outside Backs: outside centre, wings and full back
Pack: the forwards
Second Row: both locks
Three-quarters or Three-quarter Line: wingers and centers
Tight Forwards or Tight 5 or Front 5: the combined front row and second
Rugby Players Terms, Lingo &
Jargon, Part 2: C - H
Rugby Players Terms: C
Rugby Players Terms: D - E
- Calcutta Cup: yearly
match that occurs between Scotland and England—a classic match. Cap:
refers to an award granted for playing in a match. However, in modern
rugby this award is generally only granted if the player has played a
match with their national team against another nation's team. There is
no physical award most of the time as it is an honor designed to show
how many rugby games the player has participated.
- Center: formation of one
back along with an inside and outside center.
- Charge Down: lingo for a
block made against a kick by an opposing player.
- Chip Kick: jargon for a
short shallow kick during rugby games designed for delivery over the
head of an oncoming defender. It is typically used when a
supporting player is in line to catch the ball behind the
defender. If necessary, the kicker may catch it as well.
- Clearance Kick: action of
kicking the ball into the touch. This is designed to relieve the
pressure from a team under heavy assault.
- Conversion: following a
try score, a conversion kick is attempted from the area where the ball
was grounded in the try attempt and parallel to the touch-lines.
Usually taken as a place kick.
It is allowed to be rushed if the kicker makes a movement toward the
ball. However, if it is taken as a drop kick then it will be
uncontested. Conversion points are awarded if the ball passes over the
crossbar and between the uprights as in the upper part of the letter H.
Rugby Players Terms: F
- Dead ball: occurs when
the referee halts play or ball goes out of bounds.
- Drop Goal: kick toward
the goal that will score three points if successful. During rugby
games, the attacking side makes this attempt by first dropping the ball
then kicking it after it hits the ground. See Drop Kick.
- Drop Kick: occurs when
the player drops the ball and upon touching the ground, then kicks it
- Drop Out: lingo for
action that restarts play via a drop-kick. This will occur when one
team takes the ball and touches it down behind their own try-line. It
also happens if the ball goes over the dead-ball line.
- Dummy: jargon for a fake
pass which is meant to deceive an opponent who is about to tackle the
- Dummy-half: term for
player's action of passing, running and collecting the ball usually
performed by the hooker position, but may be an acting halfback, acting
half or dummy-half.
- Eagles: The United
States' national team.
- Ellis, William Webb: the
individual credited with inspiring the creation of modern rugby in
1823. The story of how he picked up the ball and ran with it did not
occur until several years after he died. It is still a popular story
Rugby Players Terms: G
- Fair Catch: occurs when
player receives the ball resulting from a kick by the challengers and
calls 'Mark'. Rules dictate that this player must be within the in-goal
area behind his team's 22-meter line. A free kick is generally given
from the spot of the kick.
- Feed: term for action in
which the ball is thrown into the scrum via the scrum-half.
- Fifteens: jargon for
rugby union play that consists of 2 halves along with 15 players on
- First Receiver: term for
player receiving the ball--likely from the dummy half.
- Fixture: lingo for a game
- Flanker: rugby players
terms for 1 of 2 forwards who have the responsibility to connect on the
outside of the scrum. Other references are wing forward, breakaway,
flank and flank forward or loose forwards. There are no flanker
positions in rugby league.
- Blindside Flankers:
all-round utility players that possess speed, tackling, handling skills
and are typically beefier than other team members. Duties include
halting the movements of challengers on the blind side of the scrum.
While larger than their fellow open side flankers, their duties entail
being used as a jumper, covering defense, breaking tackles and breaking
the challengers, thus requiring increased physical strength.
Additionally, blindside flankers are generally part of the rucks or
- Open side Flankers:
smaller and faster than their blindside flanker brothers, these players
are positioned in the scrum furthest from the touchline and are adept
at moving into open play quickly and challenging their opponents'
- Flyhalf: term for back, a
player position in the back row and one who receives the ball from the
scrumhalf. Other references are outside half, out half, stand-off,
stand-off half, five-eighth, first five-eighth, first five, fly or
- Foot-up: lingo for an
action where a hooker puts his foot forward before the ball is put in
motion by the scrum-half.
- Forward Pass: as all
rugby game passes are directed backward, a forward pass is an illegal
motion of the ball. A penalty scrum is called in favor of the opposing
team when this happens.
- Forwards: players who
form and challenge scrums, typically stronger and bulkier team members.
These players bind together to create scrums. They will form a line-out
and are involved in nearly all rucks and mauls.
- Foul: as with other
sports, tripping, striking, kicking, obstructing, charging, or grabbing
a challenger is not permitted and penalties are the result.
- Free Kick: action that
takes the form of an uncontested kick. It is awarded to a team when
there is a minor penalty by the other team. The only type of direct
kick allowed toward the goal is a drop goal.
- Front Five: in rugby
players terms, referred to as the tight five. This is a common name for
the front and second rows. These are the player positions of props,
hookers, and locks.
- Front Row: term for the
combination of props, hookers, and locks at the front of a scrum during
- Fullback: player
positioned deep behind the main defenders. As the last line of defense,
he must prevent the attacking challenger from breaking that line.
Other name references are custodian, sweeper or number 15.
Rugby Players Terms: H
- Goal: ball must pass
between cross bar and goal posts either by drop-kicking or during a
- Goal-kicker: specialized
player position(s) for goal kicks, however any team member can attempt
- Goal posts: measuring 18
ft, 4 inches across along with cross bar 9 ft. 10 inches above in the
shape of the letter H and placed at each end of the field.
- Grand Slam: occurs when
there is a Six Nations Championship that is won with neither a loss nor
a draw. Congrats all round!
- Grubber: jargon for a
kick that causes the ball to roll and bounce along on the ground.
Terms is followed by terms I – Z
Other Sports Clicks
- Haka: ceremonial display
including a dance and chant. It is performed by many Southern Pacific
teams as these rugby players challenge their opponents before a match.
- Half-back: player
position, also known as the Scrum-half. These players
typically feed the ball into a scrum. They also retrieve the ball
at the base of a scrum.
- Halves: term for 2
players on each team, also known as halfback and five-eighth positions.
These team members are skillful at strategy, targeting the ball
in attack and are positioned near the forwards.
- High Ball: lingo for an
overhead kick that sends the ball high into the air and places pressure
on rugby players trying to catch it due to on-rushing opposition.
- Home Nations: Ireland,
England, Wales, and Scotland
- Hooker: forward play
position where the player is responsible for starting the ball followed
by running or passing to a team member. Positioned in scrum's front
row, he is supported by the props and functions at the dummy half
- Hospital Pass: jargon for
an unfortunate pass for the catcher. A split second after they receive
the ball they are tackled hard by one or more opposition members. Rugby
players catching such a pass will often need medical attention.
Sometimes this is used as a sneaky way to settle scores with teammates.