Having been a captain of a rugby team, I regularly get enquiries from potential rugby club players as to whether there is a specific height that an individual needs to be in order to play rugby?

Rugby is for people of all sizes and there is no height requirement to play. It is beneficial to be tall if you intend to play in the second row. Therefore, 13 out of the 15 positions in a rugby team aren’t impacted by height. The attitude of the player is outweighs the height of one.

It has been a common misconception for decades that rugby players are tall, well built and a bit lacking upstairs. However, this is no the case and this is the reason why height and size is not factor when you are deciding to become a rugby player. You may have a number of questions which is dependent on your build or attributes. This article looks at the following questions in relation to height and rugby:

What position should I play?

Am I too thin to play rugby?

Am I too fat to play rugby?

What if I don’t want to play contact?

What position should I play?

There are fifteen positions upon the field the first eight positions are known as the forwards and the remaining seven positions are known as the backs. The role of the forwards is very physical and they take part in the scrum and lineout. The backs are quick and agile, however, the physicality is still felt in the backs. It is often quoted that the forwards win a rugby match and the backs dictate by how much. Read the following descriptions and you’ll be able to determine the rugby position you would like to play.

Prop – There are two props on the pitch who are in the front row of the scrum and are the foundations of support for the hooker in the scrum hence the name prop. The props will lift in the line outs and will carry the ball and support the ball carriers. These players are often the heaviest and strongest players on the pitch, height doesn’t matter.

Hooker – The hooker, hooks the ball out of the scrum. The hooker is usually the individual who throws the ball into the lineout and therefore, needs a good aim and throwing technique. The hooker is usually smaller in height and build then the Props.

Second Row – Also known as locks, the two players who play second row lock the scrum together and help drive it forward. These are usually the tallest players on the pitch, the reason for this is to get power in the scrum and to be lifter in the lineouts. The second row will mainly be ball carriers.

Flankers – Positioned on the flank of the scrum, the job of these two individuals is to break away from the scrum quickly and try to tackle the scrum half or fly half f the opposition when in a defensive scrum. The flankers will carry the ball, along with the second row. If you enjoy tackling people then flanker will be the appropriate position for you. These players are fit and enjoy tackling.

No.8 – The no.8 is at the back of the scrum and can either let the scrum half pick up the ball at the back of the scrum or pick it up themselves and run against the defensive line. Similarly to the flankers, the players are fit and enjoy tackling.

Scrum half – The scrum half puts the ball into the scrum and passes the ball when it comes out of the back of the scrum. When there is a ruck the scrum half is at the back of the ruck to distribute the ball. The scrum half has to be a good passer and it is an advantage to be quick as well. The scrum half has to be a good communicator as he is the link between backs and forwards.

Fly Half- The fly half is the conductor of the backs. The fly half should have good vision for rugby, size doesn’t’ matter as long as he can read the game. The fly half, other than scrum half, probably see’s the ball the most during the game.

Centers – The centers will crash the ball through the game line and try to make breaks. The Centers are dynamic and are like getting stuck in when they need too. Again anyone of any size can play this position.

Wingers – The wingers are usually quick and have nimble footwork in order to side step the opposition. When you receive the ball on the wing you run as fast as you can at the opposition.

Full Back- The full back needs a safe pair of hands to collect the balls kicked over from the opposition. The full back is usually the last line of defence when the opposition break and therefore, requires a good tackling technique.


Am I too thin to play rugby?

As mentioned previously, height is not a problem in rugby and nor is size. If you believe you are too thin for rugby then you are mistaken. The most important aspect for a rugby player is their core strength. If you develop your core strength it will make you more powerful as a rugby player and more difficult to tackle. If you concentrate on your rugby fundamentals such as tackling and rucking, then it doesn’t matter what size you are. If it is the off season and you want to be in a rugby fit state for the preseason, then I can recommend James Haskells ‘Introduction to becoming and remaining rugby fit’.


Am I too fat to play rugby?

Exercise is always good however, if you are concerned that you you maybe too overweight for rugby then seek advice prior to taking part in any training. Even if you train little and often it will better than nothing at all. Within our rugby team we have competitions on losing weight between the bigger players. A healthy lifestyle makes all the difference when losing weight and James Haskells ‘Perfect fit’ can help with maintaining a positive diet and get you ready for the new rugby season.


What if I Don’t Want to Play Contact?

If the thought of contact in rugby is putting you off of playing rugby, then it would be worthwhile checking with a club as to whether there is a touch rugby team or a walking team. However, its important to remember that if you join a team in pre-season, you will initially work on your fitness and build up to the contact. This way you a prepared when it comes to your first pre-season game.