Our Flankers are Ben Bales, Francisco Guadalupe, Gautam Hemani, Jacob Byrd and our # 8 are Steven Hale and Jacob Byrd (yes the same Jacob that I named as a prop). Jacob has played for a few years and is adept at playing mulitple positions in the forward pack.
The Open Side Flanker is the flanker that will cover the wide side of the field. His job in the scrum is to grab hold of the second row's jersey then put his shoulder onto the props rear end and push him in.
The Blind Side Flanker covers the weak side of the field and his job in the scrum is the same.
Flankers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and it's good to have a difference between the two on the pitch. Some qualities of a Flanker are: strength, particularly upper body, toughness, competitiveness, endurance, agility and mobility.
When the ball goes to the opposition backs the open side flanker follow, using all speed - Mission, get there, stop the attack and get the ball back!
If the scrum is won the opposition and their # 8 or scrum half decide to have a run, it's usually the blind side flanker they run into. The blind side flanker's job is similar to the open side except his strength comes in because his opposition will come to him rather than run away.
When we win our scrums, the flankers SUPPORT, They will either be there to get a pass from the backs and continue the attack or if a back is tackled, they are there in support to create the ruck/maul so that we can maintain possession.
The # 8 is very similar to a flanker in terms of his attributes and duties on the pitch both on defense and in attacking. In a scrum, it's usually the # 8 that controls the direction of the scrum. Meaning he literally puts his head between the two second rows. This is another not fun place to put ones head, but in rugby, you have to suck it up and just do it.
If we are getting ready to engage in a scrum and it's our put in, the # 8 will give a right shoulder push, This keeps the scrum from wheeling around to the left, basically his job on our put in, is to keep the scrum strait. If it's the oppositions put in, then the # 8 may try to wheel the scrum around so that it goes more than 90 degrees, in which the referee would blow his whistle and award a scrum the team that was defending.
The two flankers and number 8 play in a co-ordinated way to provide a mobile defensive area when the team is defending or when the team is attacking, provide critical early support for ball carriers in trouble. They use their superior skills of tackling, ball handling and agility to assist in attack and their bulk, strength and endurance to bolster defense. If a back wanted to escape their clutches, they need to get a side step.
The forwards we have at UT Dallas Rugby Club are all special players in a way that some of them had some experience playing rugby before coming to this club, while others thought it would be a fun thing to do. In the beginning I would probably say many weren't having too much fun, but I saw things they didn't. The lads began playing more and more together and as they progressed through this and league play began. The fun took over, they started putting the little things we did in practice to work in games and that produced 3 victories, a number one seed in the Texas Rugby Union Collegiate Division III and being ranked 16th in the Nation in the National Small College Rugby Organization. Something that they should be and are proud of becaue no other UT Dallas Rugby Club in the past history has accomplished.
But it's not over, we still have a lot more rugby ahead of us, with a minimum of 4 matches and a maximum of 8 games left if we continue to play well. This will not be an easy road, especially once we get into our own championship or go out side of Texas, but regardless of how we do or where we go or don't go. Our mission is to enjoy the ride and have fun alo