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Position guide: Prop
Loose-head propLoose-head propHookerHookerTight-head propTight-head propSecond rowSecond rowSecond rowSecond rowBlind-side flankerBlind-side flankerOpen-side flankerOpen-side flankerNumber 8Scrum-halfScrum-halfNumber 8Fly-halfFly-halfInside centreInside centreOutside centreInside centreRight wingRight wingLeft wingLeft wingFull-backFull-back

Former England and Lions prop Jason Leonard
By Jason Leonard
Former England and Lions prop

A prop's main role is to scrummage, support in the line-out, tackle and hit the rucks and mauls.

No matter how fast and powerful the game becomes, a prop will always be a prop.

The difference nowadays is that props also have to be able to catch, time a pass to put team-mates into space and run.

Many top props are now very powerful runners and you may even see the odd sidestep.

The tight-head prop is very much the fulcrum. He anchors the whole scrum and is destructive in a negative sense.

He will be trying to put the opposition loose-head under pressure.

England captain Phil Vickery on the charge
England's Phil Vickery is my idea of a perfect modern prop

The primary role of the loose-head, on the other hand, is to look after the hooker so he can get a clean strike at the ball, but these days loose-heads have to be destructive too.

The tight-head plays on the right of the front-row and mainly uses the right-hand side of his body, whereas the loose-head's left side dominates.

Because of this it is fairly rare to find someone who can excel at both.

To be a good prop, you've really got to enjoy the position - it's not everyone's cup of tea, putting your head where it hurts.

It's possibly the only true position on the field where you actually have a one-on-one with your opposite number and I relished that aspect of it.

You need to love that confrontational challenge to get the most out of it.

England's Phil Vickery is my idea of a perfect modern prop.

He's a fantastic scrummager, great in the line-out because he is quite tall, he has good hands, contributes all around the park and regularly tops the tackle count.


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