Rugby is one of the best team sports around, and all players are expected to catch, pass, run, tackle and kick. But different variations of the game a more suited to some players than others. Here’s our list of the top things rugby forwards won’t miss during summers 7s.
Rugby sevens, a.k.a. “forwards rugby vacation”
Everyone knows that the forwards are the most attractive and charming players on any rugby team. And during the fifteens season they also earn those hard yards in the scrum, rucks, mauls, and other contact areas.
But when rugby sevens season comes around, they get to sit back with a pint and look on with a smile as all those silly backs chase each other around on hot and steamy summer days.
Yes, the forwards have long-enjoyed the summer vacation from rugby, and for many good reasons. Here’s our top sevens reasons why.
1. Playing in the heat & humidity.
Fifteens is usually played in the Spring and Fall. The cooler temperatures of these seasons are perfect for the forwards who spend most of their time in the middle of a mangled mass of bodies.
Since sevens is played in the summer, the hot mess of the scrums and rucks is even hotter. No thanks!
2. Scrummaging every time a back drops the ball.
For the forwards, the only thing worse than playing when it’s hot is the constant deluge of scrums that are required when the backs seemingly drop the ball on every touch.
Rugby 7s doesn’t have a lot of scrums, and the ones they have are small and fast. Even so, skipping the scrums by staying on the sidelines is like a cold beer on a hot day. Literally.
3. Anchoring the boat race at the after-match social.
While the backline is fast on the pitch, they never beat the forwards in a boat race at the after-match social. That’s why a prop or lock is the boat race anchor during the fifteens season.
But carrying the team in a boat race is a lot of responsibility for the forwards. The summer is a great time to take a break and let the backs will earn some confidence by boat racing other backs.
4. Washing clean jerseys (# 9 through #15).
As noted above, Spring and Fall are the best seasons for forward ruggers. They are also the wettest and dirtiest.
But no matter how nasty the field conditions, the backs jerseys are always the cleanest on the pitch! By taking the summer off, the backs can wash their own jerseys (even if it’s not needed!).
5. Rucking on the wing.
With all those fancy defenses out there, the role of the forwards has moved well beyond the midfield. They are expected to be in support to win the ball all over the pitch, including between the train tracks and even on the wing.
By taking a break during summer, the forwards definitely won’t miss getting out of a scrum and sprinting to the sideline to contest possession. Since the forwards are expected to also have great ball handling skills, the summer is a perfect time for the backs to work on their tackle and ruck technique!
6. Listening to the half back moan to the referee.
Every fifteens match has one thing that never changes: a scrappy little Napoleon with a nine on their shirt who barks at the forwards for 80 minutes. And when they are not yelling at forwads, they are trying to teach the referee the laws of the sport.
For a forward, the sidelines of a sevens match is a serene and tranquil place free from the cacophony of the halfbacks. HEAVEN!
No explanation required.
Hippos & clydesdales
Of course, not all forwards take a rugby vacation during the summer months. A not-small percentage of the pack secretly desire to be in the backline and look forward to sevens season.
That’s why many sevens rugby events offer so-called “hippo” and “clydesdale” divisions.
If you’re a forward who likes to play sevens, or maybe a retired player who still likes the thrill of competition, perhaps this list of things rugby forwards won’t miss doesn’t apply.
In that case, check out the Hippos division at the Lakefront 7s. All players must weigh 275 lbs and/or be 35+ years old. If you’re lucky, maybe your team won’t even have any backs!
Image credit: Fat Boi Rugby.