The Rugby Hooker Explained - Rugby Reader (2024)

  • Positions

by Tim Ryan - 0

If you’ve been around rugby, you’ve probably heard the term ‘hooker’ talked about. If you want to learn more about what a hooker in rugby is, then you came to the right place. We’ll talk about what a hooker is (it’s a position), what their role is, and name some of the best hookers in rugby history.

What is a Rugby Hooker?

In rugby, the hooker is a forward who wears the jersey number 2 and is part of the front row in a scrum. The front row consists of three players on each team, and they are responsible for binding together and engaging with the opposition front row when the ball is put into the scrum.

The hooker is positioned in the middle of the front row, between the loosehead prop and the tighthead prop.

Role of a rugby hooker

Their primary role in a scrum is to use their feet to “hook” the ball back towards their own team, either with their foot or their hands, after the ball has been put into the scrum by the scrum-half.

In addition to their role in the scrum, the hooker is also expected to be an active and versatile player around the field. They are often involved in lineouts, where they throw the ball in, and are also expected to be strong in the loose (i.e. outside of the scrum), making tackles, carrying the ball, and providing support to their teammates.

How big is a rugby hooker?

The size of a rugby hooker can vary, but they are generally muscular and powerful players. Hookers are typically smaller than props but larger than locks, and their weight can range from 95 kg (209 lbs) to over 120 kg (265 lbs). Their height can range from around 1.75 to 1.85 meters (5’9″ to 6’1″).

However, like all rugby positions, the size of a hooker alone does not determine their effectiveness on the field. A good hooker also requires a combination of skill, technique, and endurance in order to be able to perform their role effectively.

Evolution of the hooker

As rugby has evolved over the years, the role of the hooker has also changed, with many modern hookers being expected to have a wider range of skills than their predecessors. This includes the ability to carry the ball and make tackles in open play, as well as being able to link up effectively with their teammates in attacking moves.

Best rugby hookers of all-time

There have been many great rugby hookers throughout the history of the sport, but here are some of the best of all time:

Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand)

Fitzpatrick is widely regarded as one of the greatest hookers in rugby history. He played for the New Zealand national team from 1986 to 1997 and was part of the team that won the 1987 Rugby World Cup. He also captained the All Blacks for a record 51 tests.

Keith Wood (Ireland)

Wood played for Ireland from 1994 to 2003 and was widely regarded as one of the best hookers of his generation. He was a key player for the British and Irish Lions on their 1997 tour of South Africa, and he also played in two Rugby World Cups.

John Smit (South Africa)

Smit played for the South African national team from 2000 to 2011 and was part of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2007. He also captained the Springboks in a record 83 tests.

Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa)

du Plessis played for the South African national team from 2007 to 2015 and was known for his physicality and aggressive style of play. He was part of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and played in two other World Cups.

Dane Coles (New Zealand)

Coles has been one of the most dynamic hookers in recent years, known for his athleticism and speed. He has played for the New Zealand national team since 2012 and was a key member of the team that won the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

These are just a few examples of the many great rugby hookers who have played the sport at the highest level.

Why is it called a hooker?

The term “hooker” comes from the hooking action that the player performs with their foot, which is to “hook” the ball back to a teammate. The term has been used in rugby since the early days of the sport and has become a standard part of rugby terminology.

Wrapping Up

A rugby hooker is a crucial member of the team’s front row, responsible for “hooking” the ball back with their foot during a scrum to gain possession of the ball. The hooker also throws the ball in during lineouts, and their strength and technique are essential for competing against the opposing team’s prop.

That’s about all there is to know about the hooker position. Thanks for reading!

The Rugby Hooker Explained - Rugby Reader (2024)
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