All Manner of Men
(Stolen without shame from the Richmond United RFC web site Somebody in this club may have written this, or may not. Anyway, I fixed the formatting and some of the grammar. And if you're a back reading this and object to the forwards orientation of the piece, hey, the truth hurts. - Wes)
THE FORWARDSThere are eight forwards. They take part in scrums, lineouts, rucks, and mauls - essentially everything that is meaningful in the game. The close physical work necessary for the forwards engenders a sense of comradeship not shared by the prancing, self-centered and effeminate backs. The game has evolved, thank goodness, with multi-phase possession allowing the forwards to demonstrate their running ability with the ball.
Props and Hookers
The front row is the cauldron, the foundation for all good rugby play. The front row is noted for their power and good looks, like no necks, battered ears, and S-shaped noses. Such players are noted for their intelligence and longevity well into their forties.
The second row is the engine room where the power flows. The second row - or lock forward - is tall, with plenty of leverage strength in the legs. He must be productive in the lineouts as a jumper or supporter. Mobility is added plus. The second row is much appreciated by the front row for their power in the scrummage but they are generally not as good looking as the front row.
The loose forwards
The loose forwards include the #8 and the flankers. The loose forwards are respected by the front row for their mobility, fitness, defense and support work. The loosey must have tremendous fitness and ball fetching instincts which are not completely understood or trusted by the props and hooker, who are perfectly content to scrummage all day for the ball.
The little scrum half provides the ball to the backs when the forwards are damn well ready for the strutting backs to knock it forward. The forwards have grudging respect for the scrum-half because he trys hard and is not afraid to get dirty with the rest of the scrummies. The wise scrum-half will drink and buy beers for the scrummies to maintain his favored position with the forwards.
It is rumored that the Fly has the best vision, hands, kicking ability, and overall tactical decision making ability on the side. The forwards do not understand or trust this individual. The hard-working scrummies generally expect and anticipate a knock forward from the fly so they can have the pleasure of another scrum-down.
These hombres are supposed to be deadly tacklers, with strong running instincts and good hands. Alas, the centers are lumped in there with the prancing flyhalf. If the fly doesn't knock on, surely one of the centers will muff it up so the scrummies can experience the joy and satisfaction of another scrum-down.
The Fullback and Wingers
These guys may as well be from Mars. They are allegedly fast with excellent striking ability. They are supposed to score lots of trys, catch the high ball, and counter attack with flair. But the stark reality (well understood by the forwards) is that the fullback and wingers prance and preen more than the inside backs. They don't get dirty and are always playing with their hair and pulling on their collars. In fact their sexual orientation has been called into question on numerous occasions. Some props think fullbacks and wingers are "real purdy."