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Stand-offs such as France's Thomas Bosc require good passing skills. Thomas Bosc.jpg
Stand-offs such as France's Thomas Bosc require good passing skills.

Five-eighth or Stand-off is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Wearing jersey number 6, this player is one of the two half backs in a team, partnering the scrum-half. [1] [2] [3] Sometimes known as the pivot or second receiver, [4] in a traditional attacking 'back-line' (№ 1-7). [5] play the five-eighth would receive the ball from the scrum half, [6] who is the first receiver of the ball from the dummy-half or hooker following a tackle.

A rugby league team consists of thirteen players on the field, with four substitutes on the bench. Each of the thirteen players is assigned a position, normally with a standardised number, which reflects their role in attack and defence, although players can take up any position at any time.

Hooker (rugby league)

Hooker is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Usually wearing jersey number 9, the hooker is one of the team's forwards. During scrums the hooker plays in the front row, and the position's name comes from their role of 'hooking' or 'raking' the ball back with the foot. For this reason the hooker is sometimes referred to as the rake.

Tackle (football move)

Most forms of football have a move known as a tackle. The primary and important purposes of tackling are to dispossess an opponent of the ball, to stop the player from gaining ground towards goal or to stop them from carrying out what they intend.


The role of the five-eighth is often to pass the ball away from the congested area around the tackle, further out along the 'back-line' to the outside backs, the centres and wingers, who have more space to run with it. [7] [8] Furthermore, players in this position typically assume responsibility for kicking the ball for field position in general play. [9] [10] The five-eighth is therefore considered one of the most important positions, often referred to as a 'play maker', assuming a decision-making role on the field. [11] [12] Over time, however, as the game has evolved, the roles of the two halves have grown more aligned and difficult to distinguish. [13] Along with other key positions - fullback, hooker and scrum half - the five-eighth makes up what is known as a team's spine. [14]

Fullback (rugby league) position in rugby league football

Fullback is one of the positions in a rugby league football team. Typically wearing jersey number 1, the fullback is a member of the team's 'back-line'. The position's name comes from their duty of standing the furthest back in defence, behind the forwards (8-13), half backs and the three-quarter backs (2-5). Fullbacks are therefore the last line of defence, having to tackle any opposition players and regather the ball from any kicks that make it through their teammates. It is for this reason that the fullback is also referred to as the sweeper or custodian. Being able to secure high bomb kicks is a highly sought quality in fullbacks.

One book published in 1996 stated that in senior rugby league, the five-eighth and hooker handled the ball more often than any other position. [15]

The Rugby League International Federation's Laws of the Game state that the "Stand-off half or Five-eighth" is to be numbered 6. [16] However, traditionally players' jersey numbers have varied, and in the modern Super League, each squad's players are assigned individual numbers regardless of position.

Rugby League International Federation international rugby league governing body

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) is the global governing body for the sport of rugby league football. The RLIF is responsible for the Laws of the Game, the development, organisation and governance of rugby leagues internationally, and for the sport's major international tournaments; most notably the Rugby League World Cup.

In rugby league football, the Laws of the Game are the rules governing how the sport is played. The Laws are the responsibility of the Rugby League International Federation, and cover the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of the game.

Super League professional rugby league

Super League is the top-level professional rugby league club competition in the Northern Hemisphere. The league has twelve teams: eleven from England and one from France.


Wally Lewis was voted Australia's greatest ever five-eighth in 2008. Wally Lewis (29 April 2004, Brisbane).jpg
Wally Lewis was voted Australia's greatest ever five-eighth in 2008.

Traditionally in rugby football, there have always been two half-backs as well as scrums involving the forwards. Of the two half backs, the name "scrum half" was given to the one which was involved in the scrum by feeding the ball into it and the name "stand-off half" was given to the one which stood off to the side of the scrum. [17] In Britain, where rugby league originated, this terminology has been retained. [18] In Australian English, however, "five-eighth" is the term used for the number 6, to differentiate from the "half back" which is the name commonly given to the number 7. [19] In New Zealand, both terms appear to be used interchangeably.

Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union. Legend claims that rugby football was started circa 1845 in Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, England, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby eventually split into two sports in 1895 when twenty-one clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Union in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, Northern England over the issue of payment to players, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay its players, rugby union turned fully professional in 1995. Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby and the Rugby League International Federation. Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league initially used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football.

Scrum (rugby) method of restarting play in rugby

A scrum is a method of restarting play in rugby that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball. Depending on whether it is in rugby union or rugby league, the scrum is utilized either after an accidental infringement or when the ball has gone out of play. Scrums occur more often, and are now of greater importance, in union than in league. Starting play from the line of scrimmage in gridiron football is derived from the scrum.

Australian English is the set of varieties of the English language native to Australia. Although English has no official status in the Constitution, Australian English is the country's national and de facto official language as it is the first language of the majority of the population.

Notable stand-offs

Five-eighths that feature in their respective nations' rugby league halls of fame are England's Roger Millward, Australia's Wally Lewis, Bob Fulton, Brett Kenny, Albert Rosenfeld and Vic Hey, and New Zealand's George Menzies.

Roger Millward was an English rugby league footballer who played in the 1960s and 1970s, and coached in the 1980s and 1990s. A goal-kicking stand-off, he gained a high level of prominence in the sport in England by playing for Hull Kingston Rovers (captain) and Castleford, as well as representing Great Britain. Millward was awarded the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1983. Nicknamed “Roger the Dodger” for his elusive running, he was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame in 2000.

Wally Lewis Australia rugby league player

Walter James Lewis AM is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and coached in the 1980s and 1990s. He became a commentator for television coverage of the sport. A highly decorated Australian national captain, Lewis is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever players of rugby league. His time as a player and coach was followed by a career as a sports presenter for the Nine Network.

Robert "Bob" Fulton AM is a former professional rugby league footballer, coach and commentator. Fulton played, coached, selected for and has commentated on the game with great success at the highest levels and has been named amongst Australia's greatest rugby league players of the 20th century. As a player Fulton won three premierships with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the 1970s, the last as captain. He represented for the Australian national side on thirty-five occasions, seven times as captain. He had a long coaching career at the first grade level, taking Manly to premiership victory in 1987 and 1996. He coached the Australian national team to thirty-nine Tests and World Cup games. He was a New South Wales State selector and a national selector. He is currently a radio commentator with 2GB. In 1985 he was selected as one of the initial four post-war "Immortals" of the Australian game and in 2008 he was named in Australia's team of the century.

Rugby league's first known black player, Lucius Banks, played in the position for Hunslet R.L.F.C. in 1912-13. [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

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