Thursday, 7 June 2007

The Total Flanker Guide to playing: Wing

Certain rugby commentators still insist to this day that there’s a difference between playing right wing and left wing. Something to do with ball-fielding capabilities against a right-footed kicking fly half or defensive alignment when facing a passing movement from right to left or something…

The fact is, while there may be some scientific justification for this twaddle at the very highest level of the game, for the vast majority of rugby clubs a winger is a winger for one or more of the following reasons:

  • he has absolutely no talent, and putting him out on the flank keeps him out of harm’s way. It does mean of course that your game plan becomes a little narrower but it’s a price worth paying. This winger has a love of wide open spaces, a unique tolerance to hypothermia and the expression of a startled squirrel when the action heads in his direction. If he ever does get the ball that expression turns to blind panic as he scampers about haphazardly before throwing the ball over his shoulder and running away to hide. Usually he's also painfully thin, never gets his kit dirty and therefore never needs a post-match shower; or

  • he's very quick and has just about learned how to catch the ball but couldn't throw a decent pass if his life depended on it. If he could pass he’d be picked in the centre. As it is, he's likely to score bucketloads of tries and win Player of the Year at the end of season awards; or

  • he believes he's the next Jonah Lomu. What this usually means is that he is just big and for some reason believes that will be enough, despite having no pace and minimal skill. Sadly, against some opposition wingers, he's right - it is enough; or

  • deep down he's really just a rugby fan who likes to tell his mates that he plays. He's incredibly keen and therefore spends most of the game shouting and clapping, encouraging his colleagues to send play his way until that crucial moment when he's called into action and off he goes to collect the oranges at half time, or retrieve the ball from the stream.

If you fit into any of the above categories then you can play on the wing. If not, you should play in a proper position.

Hope that helps…

1 comment:

jonny24 said...

I'd say that about sums up it for the wing. In my club it's usually "Well Jon, we're short backs today, and you're young and quick, you play wing" -meaning none of the other forwards want to do much running that day