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Flanker

New Zealand womens rugby flanker Riki Heimer takes on the Australian defence

Photo: Getty Images

Open-side and blind-side flankers are often considered to be the players with the fewest set responsibilities, but as such must be excellent all-rounders with inexhaustible energy. Speed, strength, fitness, tackling and handling skills are all vital.

Flankers are more often than not at the centre of the action – winning balls at the ruck and maul, collecting short passes from tackled players and making their own big tackles in open play. While they can rarely be blamed for a loss, they can certainly be the key to victory.

The open-side flanker plays on the far side of the scrum from the touchline and is often smaller in size than their blind-side partner, making them more mobile around the pitch. The blind-side flanker tends to have bigger, more physical role around the pitch, and also acts as a target jumper in the lineout.

Key Abilities

Stamina, pace, tackling, mobility

Famous Flankers

Michael Jones (New Zealand), George Smith (Australia), Jean Prat (France), Richie McCaw (New Zealand), Ian Kirkpatrick (New Zealand), Richard Hill (England and Lions), François Pienaar (South Africa).

 

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