Nutta's Navel Gazing - Flankers - Green and Gold Rugby

Nutta’s Navel Gazing – Flankers

Nutta’s Navel Gazing – Flankers

And the journey continues… This week it’s the 6&7.

Originally called Wing-Forwards, the guys wearing 6&7 understandably developed a complex and agitated for a name change. Everyone else agreed because Wing-Forward rhymed with nothing. That’s why they are now called Flankers.

Flankers are interesting because they are such a contradiction. They will tell you they are indispensable. They will also tell you about the breathtaking spread of skills they are expected to possess. However anytime anyone cops a yellow card, the first person benched is a Flanker and in-terms of demonstrated skill-spread well let’s reflect for a moment on the masterful displays of Flankerism by Lote Tuqiri and Kurtley Beale (two exponents of notable acclaim)…

There are two types of Flanker; the Boyish Enthusiast and the Psychotic Foreigner. And neither is particularly good company on the sauce. The Boyish Enthusiast does Pump classes with his girlfriend in the morning before cycling to his Molecular Biology lecture and squeezing in a mini-triathlon before footy training in between gobfulls of protein balls. The Psychotic Foreigner is simply that – a dodgy back-packing, couch-surfing nutcase with a crazed twitch in his eye and who always looks about to glass someone. And no matter where in the world you go, the really scary ones have a slight indeterminate accent from somewhere else which makes you realise they are probably continuously deported from their last club.

Jackpot - an example of the mental foreigner

Jackpot – the mental foreigner

Physically, the little Flankers say it’s all about technique whilst the big Flankers say it’s all in the physicality. And whilst every coach loves a big unit, Flankers who need to be lifted onto barstools are quite common.

In terms of style, NZ and Oz generally play ‘open’ and ‘blind’ Flankers. This is not a reflection of sexual preference but is rather a vague, illusionary reference to a mystical ideal called ‘running lines’ that no one has ever quite defined. Comparatively Sth Africa & England play a sort of Bananas in Pyjamas B1 & B2 approach. They have no pretensions of running lines as everyone simply accepts that the programming of Terminator T1000’s is still in its infancy.

A Flankers job is for those terrified of accountability as there is not a single thing they are actually responsible for beyond cheap-shotting opposing Fly-Halves after they passed the ball. Flankers rarely jump in lineouts and they never push in scrums. Some consider Flankers as midfield and cover defensive weapons. But given each Back supposedly covers their opponent, they have plausible deniability when it comes to missing those tackles as well.

However Flankers do apparently possess bottomless depths of set-piece knowledge that they feel compelled to lecture the Props & Locks about and which the Props & Locks visibly just love being lectured about particularly by someone who has such an objective opinion stemming from wilfully taking no part in said set-piece play.

And from a Flankers perspective all this is just great because once selected, no coach will drop them no matter how much of a muppet they are just in case they are one of the Psychotic types. This is why Flankers are generally Accountants, Consultants or middle-management types.

Favourite Drink: Protein Shakes

Politics: Generally a committed happy-clapper or secret IRA member. Not much of a difference really…

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    “….rhymed with nothing. That’s why they are called Flanker!s” Friggen gold mate it almost made me snort my coffeee.
    I admit I’ve been called something that rhymes with flanker a few times in my career as a Wing Forward. Probably deserved too I might add. My politics are mor of the IRA terrorist wiping out style but essentially no change. About the only thing you forgot is the way we are totally involved to the extent that every time our side scores a try we are able to prove that it was due to something we did somewhere that enabled the try to occur.

    • Nutta

      BTW – for what it’s worth I am a committed Republican (but of more of the Oz variety)

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        So like a son who has left home but still wants mum to wash his laundry?

        • Nutta

          I give you that one.

  • I would have much preferred a picture of Kurtley packing into the scrum at flanker…

  • Hitcho

    Flankers are just misunderstood!

    Halfbacks deserve to be smashed (slightly miss-timed or not) because on the most part they’re gobby little pricks who’s only job is to pass the ball accurately which seems to be a skill foreign to some of them.

    Locks and props need all the help they can get and the reason flankers have to consistently educate them on the ancient art of the breakdown is because they’re not that smart with memories akin to a goldfish.

    Flankers rarely jump in lineouts because someone has to go get the hookers overthrow.

    If inside backs stopped looking at themselves on the bigscreen or trying to fit their comb into to little pocket that’s meant for their mouthguard and just stuck it behind their ear like everyone else they might just might be ready and have half a chance to make a tackle which would allow more time to educate the tight 5.

    What happens in the ruck stays in the ruck… for christ sake we’ve got 10 fingers and can’t be expected to keep track of all of them!

    Anyway if anyone disagrees I’m more than happy to jump in a cab (which I thought I heard him say I didn’t have to pay for… which may or may not have been misunderstood due to a language barrier) come over and kidney shiv ya while pinching your wallet to help pay for my cab fare.

    • From NooZealand

      What happens in the ruck stays in the ruck… for christ sake we’ve got 10 fingers and can’t be expected to keep track of all of them!” – Thank you very much for sharing this. Gold.

  • Patrick


  • formerflanker

    Brilliant. Hard to read though, with tears of laughter streaming down my face.

  • Duncher

    Loving this series Nutta!!!!

  • Jack

    This one’s great Nutta – Too many Boyish Enthusiasts in my club, need to locate some Psychotic Foreigners. This is an awesome series, love your work.


Underfed front-rower with no speed or ball skills. Started playing footy in the 70's and still going. Can't remember the last time I passed on a ball, beer or karaoke mike. Motto - "Meat and potatoes first. Then gravy. And you don't put gravy on the plate first Boy."

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