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

Nutta’s Navel Gazing – Props

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Nutta’s Navel Gazing – Props

Every now and again someone is silly/inebriated/idiotic/demented enough to ask for my opinion on something.


And every now and again I’m asked about my opinion regarding the types of people you may find playing Rugby.

So, in the immortal words of my Old Man “Be careful what you ask for Boy because you just might get it.” And so I’ll share my opinion and dish out ‘Rugby Positions Described’ for a few weeks just to fill the void and have a laugh.

I do not claim this as original work. Some of it is. But most of it is stolen observations, anecdotes and sometimes just downright plagiarism of stuff I’ve heard along the way in my +35yrs of pulling on the boots, doing up the laces and rediscovering my hamstrings fused to my spinal column sometime in the late 1970’s. Please bear in-mind I am not au-fait with modern rugby technique and terminology. I’m still coming to terms with lifting in the lineout. But a couple of times a year I still roll out for a slap and a tickle and realise that not much has changed.

So without further a-do, I offer the sacrifice below for critique & comment as a ham-fisted attempt at explaining rugby positions to the uninitiated:

Starting at the beginning, no greater do we have then the Props. For the Nufties, they wear No1 & 3. There is no typical physique for the Pride of the Pack with Homer Simpson’s through to Silver Back Gorillas being common. But unseemly hairiness, strength, random nudity, karaoke addiction and general ‘uniqueness’ are prerequisites.

The role of prop is unforgivingly noble; to let others shine. They support the scrum, belt the ruck, lift the line-out jumpers but most importantly provide the moral compass for the herd of unethical cats that make up the rest of the team (especially the hooker). And at no time is this role more critical than when on bus-trip or on tour.

Props have 2 types. Looseheads (no1) tend to be more impulsive. Tightheads (no3) tend to be a bit more philosophical about life. This manifests as about a quarter-second difference in timing on when they throw their first punch.

Props are unbelievably multi skilled. They can step, pass, pirouette and chip-kick off both sides. But following a secret conclave at the Vatican in 1976, The Secret Society of Props have signed international confidentiality agreements not to (it lets Backs feel they contribute). Instead they read Schopenhauer, compose Haiku in their spare time and anchor the Boat-race.

Props are universally acknowledged as the smartest players on the pitch but are rumoured to have a Cryptonian weakness as archaeological records do indicate with some certainty that beer, rum, red wine and generous cleavage have been secretly mixed together and subjected to endless chanting and Sting songs to create a concoction so powerful as to stop Props taking over the world.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks Nutta. The beginning of my proper rugby education.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks Nutta. The beginning of my proper rugby education.

  • Xaviera

    A steady start – you’ve understated the bedrocks nicely. Can’t wait to hear about us unethical hookers, let alone the mirror-men of 9+.

  • Xaviera

    A steady start – you’ve understated the bedrocks nicely. Can’t wait to hear about us unethical hookers, let alone the mirror-men of 9+.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well Nutta, that is exactly what the Doctor ordered.
    This rugby year has already not started well. Having this well written and most comical tale is wonderful.
    I look forward to many more to come!
    Tip of the hat! (My first one for the new year!)

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Gold Nutta. I was pushed into prop a couple of times when injuries and lack of replacement required it and quickly found I didn’t have what it took. Glamorous knights of the field that they are

  • Who?

    Nutta, there’s a serious issue with this article. It’s too short!
    I’ll let you off the hook this time, as you’re not wanting to give away too many secrets here around such a key position. But there must be a greater level of detail provided for the further articles!

  • McWarren

    Thanks for the laugh Nutta. It sums up to a tee the props I’ve known, it is exactly how they think of themselves!!

  • PhillC

    A very worthy start. From one prop to another……

    Props are geometers. They understand angles. They may as well be engineers, as they also understand motion and forces. This is all entirely intuitive after turning out for the thirsty 3rds as a teenager, packing down against some old fella with grey or no hair and being royally worked over for the next 80 minutes. For the slow learners this is taught over beers in the clubhouse.

    Props have no peripheral vision. With the ball in hand props are genetically predisposed to white line fever, even inside their own 22. Do not bother calling for a prop to pass, although they can easily do so off both left and right hands, they fail to see the need with contact imminent. The only time a prop is likely to pass is when they’re in the clear, after a break of 15 meters or so, then through their innate generosity and general boredom with open play, decide to give someone else a run.

    If props had the opportunity to change one rule, it would be to bring back proper rucking. There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing lazy players the opportunity to experience a good shoeing. There should be no finer sight in modern rugby than a player ejected from rear of a ruck at great speed and on the end of a prop’s studs. If over enthusiasm results in a penalty, the response should always be, “he shouldn’t have been there, Sir.”

  • Proud Pig

    Being a member of the venerable order myself, I feel somewhat aggrieved at the fact that you see fit to clue in the lesser mortals on the secrets that we have tried so hard to keep to ourselves. Thankfully, this will not have been read by any wingers, due to the fact that the majority of wingers cannot read and the ones that can rarely progress beyond “See Dick Run”. My use of the word “Dick” is deliberate to keep the centres busy giggling like school girls for a while.

    The venerable order of the prop is indeed populated by the most erudite and intellectually curious of the rugby fraternity. I fondly recall the many times my tight head friend and I shared a polite laugh over our hooking brother’s rudimentary understanding of Phillip Glass’s Einstein on the beach while sipping a cheeky red or medium sized keg of ale.

    Is there any finer sight than an Adonis of the front row rag-dolling a full back who decided to stray into an area of the pitch for which he is woefully unprepared.

    I must admit I am becoming a tad nostalgic for the days of when the opposition coach, usually an ex-back, who says to their number eight “we are a bit short in the front row, just give it your best”. The response from said eight will usually be “tell me about the rabbits, George” but after a short explanation of what is expected of him he will apply himself with great vigor to the task. An education in the dark arts would be duly administered and he would leave the field a mere shell of a man but still better for the experience.

    The great and beautiful game is merely a tool to advertise the gods among men that are props. The scrum the principal means of which to display their superiority over their lessers and open play simply a way to give the crowd a moment of respite and way to get their breath back between scrums.

    • Nutta

      I stand a better man postscript. Cheers.

  • Parker

    Brilliant! Had this back rolling with laughter and affectionate appreciation of the accuracy.


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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