top of page

The Speed Merchants: Demystifying the Role of Wings in Rugby

In rugby, each position on the field carries unique skills and responsibilities, contributing to the overall dynamic and performance of the team. Among these positions, the wings stand out as the speed demons, using their pace and agility to score tries and create opportunities for their teammates.

The Basics: Position and Numbers

The wings, also known as wingers or wing three-quarters, are key members of the backline, positioned on the outside edges of the field. There are two wings in a rugby team, one on the left side (wearing the number 11 jersey) and one on the right side (wearing the number 14 jersey). Their primary responsibility is to score tries by exploiting space and utilizing their speed and agility to evade opposition defenders.

Attacking Play: The Lightning Finishers

One of the primary responsibilities of the wings is to finish attacking moves by scoring tries. Wings often receive the ball from their teammates after several phases of play or through set-piece moves, such as lineouts or scrums. The wings must be able to read the game, anticipate their teammates' movements, and position themselves effectively to receive the ball in space. Their ability to evade defenders, maintain balance at high speed, and finish under pressure is crucial for turning opportunities into points on the scoreboard.

Support Play: The Opportunistic Hunters

In addition to their finishing duties, the wings play a critical role in support play. They must be prepared to follow attacking moves, offer themselves as passing options, and exploit gaps in the opposition's defense. The wings' ability to read the game, anticipate breaks in play, and support their teammates is essential for maintaining possession and creating scoring opportunities.

Defense: The Last Line of Resistance

While the wings' primary responsibilities lie in attack, they also play a crucial role in defense. Positioned on the edges of the field, the wings are often the last line of defense against opposition attackers. They must be able to make key tackles, track back quickly to cover defensive gaps, and communicate effectively with their teammates to maintain a solid defensive line. The wings' ability to read the opposition's attacking moves and react quickly to changing situations is vital for preventing tries and maintaining defensive stability.

Attributes of a Successful Wing

To excel as a wing, a player should possess several key attributes:

  • Speed and agility: Exceptional speed and agility are crucial for a wing to exploit space, evade defenders, and score tries.

  • Ball handling skills: Effective ball handling skills, including catching, passing, and kicking, are essential for a wing to maintain possession and contribute to attacking plays.

  • Vision and game awareness: The wing should possess the ability to read the game, anticipate moves, and position themselves effectively both in attack and defense.

  • Tackling and defensive skills: A wing's role in defense requires the ability to make effective tackles, track back quickly, and communicate with teammates.

  • Stamina and endurance: The wing's role in both attack and defense requires a high level of stamina and endurance to maintain performance throughout a match.

In conclusion, the wings are a vital component of any rugby team, providing the speed and finishing ability required to score tries and create opportunities for their teammates. With their unique combination of pace, agility, and game awareness, the wings play a significant role in a team's overall performance and success on the field.

Think you got what it takes to be speedy wing? Join us 7pm every Wednesday for practice at Stowe Park in Belmont North Carolina. No experience necessary!


bottom of page