When people hear the word “rugby”, the thought of tall and big-built men often springs to mind.
Whilst this may be a general perception, the truth is that a successful rugby team needs players of all sizes – and that includes short players.
There are the tall six-footers and over, who normally play in the lock position. One of the tallest players in the last Rugby World Cup in Japan was Rory Arnold of Australia, who stood head and shoulders above the rest at 6 feet and 10 inches.
The Long and Short of Being a Rugby Player
Most short rugby players are around 5’9″ and under and can play a crucial role in upsetting the opposition. Such players normally play the scrumhalf position in a rugby drill; (for the latest rugby drill information click here). As a scrumhalf, the player needs to be able to manoeuvre, get into tight spaces, be able to pass and tackle. The scrumhalf needs to be agile, have pace and get under the skin of the opposition; in short, they are the catalyst or dynamite of the offence.
After a scrum, the scrumhalf needs to be able to retrieve the ball from the forward pack and give it to another back. The scrumhalf also has the responsibility of digging out the ball after a tackle when a throng of players appear around it. This is best suited to a shorter player who has good balance and can turn very easily. Scrumhalves have a commanding role and must be great at organising, communicating and covering the field. Scrumhalves are expected to be short to be able to execute this leadership role successfully.
One of the added advantages of being short as a rugby player is the ability to get down and aim at the ankles when tackling – something that is not that easy to do if you are taller than 6 feet. Scrumhalves are not only short, wide and broad-shouldered, but they also need to be strong and powerful with the ability to tackle and bring down other rugby players, who are most likely to be not just taller but heavier in terms of body weight – and in some cases, almost double their size.