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Learn more about the Hooker Throw

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The hooker is a key team member; one of the spine of the team – 15, 10, 9, 8, 2

The role of the hooker varies according to the ability of the player and the type of game the coach wants to play

The main role of the hooker is mainly in close contact situations, scrums, rucks, mauls, lineouts ect

The hooker needs to be as strong as a prop, but should have extra speed and agility

Some coaches view the hooker as an extra loose forward while others view them as a prop type of player staying in the close contact situations.

The way the hooker plays is entirely up to the size/ skill level of the player

Apart from all the ball carrying duties of a hooker the main aspects the hooker gets judged on is his lineout throwing ability and winning the ball in the scrum

The throw must be accurate and the scrum ball must be of good quality or the hooker’s role in the team is severely diminished

Major Requirements

-Ability to win scrum ball

-Ability to throw in accurately in the lineout

-To be physically fit

-Have developed upper body, leg and neck strength

-Should have good coordination between eye and foot movements

-Co-ordinate scrum assembly and engagement

-Should have pushing power

-Should be able to communicate with scrumhalf and lineout jumpers

-Must know the laws of the game!

Essentials

-Be able to run with agility, determination and commitment

-Be able to pass, catch and kick effectively

-Tackle effectively past the gainline

-Must be able to ruck and maul effectively. Must have a low body position for driving forward

-Must have a physical presence. The opposition must know and feel your playing!

-Must possess very good communication skills

-Must be a very hard worker, he needs to be one of the fittest players in the team

-He should possess a stronger never say die attitude than the other players

-He needs to work hard to enjoy dominating the opposition scrum

Role at the scrum

-Lead and organise the scrum

-Must bind quickly with props

-Set a solid platform, dominate and apply tactical pressure on the opposition hooker

-Work hard to help the loosehead prop dominate his channel on our ball

-Must know and understand team calls at various parts of the field and call the correct scrums for the situation

-Choose options on your tighthead so that they are of greatest tactical value and catch the opposition by surprise

-Must communicate with forwards (analyse, talk and improve)

Role at the lineout

We are in possession:

-Know the throw in requirements of the lineout and perfect them

-Throw accurately so as to hit your jumper’s every time

-Be confident in your throw and remain calm and relaxed before the throw

-After the throw stand in the tramline (touchline to 5mtr line) opposing the opposition hooker to protect the scrumhalf from deflected ball

They are in possession:

-Take up a position 2 meters from the lineout and opposition hooker

-Ensure an unimpeded line to collect the opposition’s deflected ball

-Exploit the general play situation that often occurs when the ball is deflected: For example: Catch the scrumhalf in possession and drive him back behind the gainline, try to steal the ball, kick it forward towards the opposition try line.

-Cover the blind side in case they bring the ball back

Role at kickoffs

-Move quickly to support jumpers/ball carrier

-Set a platform (Ball going forward)

-Be a ball carrying option

Role during 2nd phase (Ruck/Maul)

-Exert physical pressure on opposition

-Set a platform (going forward) on our ball and the opposition’s ball

-Decide on the best role to ensure a clean ball is won to continue play when approaching 2nd phase play

-Because the hooker may be the last to leave the scrum it is very important to assess the options (Eg: Are you needed in the ruck? Can you join the backline? Are the forwards running a move? )

-Depending on the speed and skill level of the hooker he may join the backline attack usually on the blindside

-You must possess a low body position for rucks and mauls. A strong low drive is essential for all forwards to dominate the contact points

Role at the ruck

Ruck: We are in possession:

-You must work very hard to ensure we win good quality ball

-Drive past the ball!

-Protect the ball for the scrumhalf to pass effectively under as little pressure as possible.

Ruck: They are in possession:

-You must aim to DESTROY their ball!

-You must aim to at least slow down their ball at every ruck you hit

Role at the maul

Mauls: We are in possession:

-Bind onto the maul to protect the delivery of the ball to the scrumhalf

-Must work hard to get the ball moving forward!

-Usually the hooker is last to join the maul, so he will often find himself in possession at the back. It is vital he has the skills, vision and decision making to carry out any attack. If not he must join the maul and move it forward

Mauls: They are in possession:

-The hooker must make a decision when a maul has formed; his responsibility is to cover the blindside- however if the maul is moving forward he may need to get involved. The scrumhalf can cover his channel if the maul is moving in field

-When he joins he needs to drive forward to slow down or stop their drive and to slow their delivery of ball

Role on defence

-You must aim to put opposition on the ground or tie the ball up in mauls

-On their ball you must cover the fringes if you’re late to the ruck/maul (Pillar/Post)

-Know the calls at the breakdown and the defensive shape next to the ruck

-Know your role at each position next to the ruck

-Know and understand the defensive pattern of the team

Role during penalties/free kicks

-Get into position quickly, face up/ front up

-On our ball: Understand the moves, and then implement them accurately

-Their ball: You must be the guts of the defensive line! Go forward and tackle!

Mobility

-Move quickly after scrum/ lineout

-Must get into position quickly, especially the first 10mtrs, before the opposition

What my unit does

-Unit = Loosehead prop, Hooker, Tighthead prop

-We do scrums, lineouts, rucks, and mauls, receive kick-offs and are defenders (work hard on our tackle count)

We provide GO FORWARD pressure

-We win quality 1st phase ball on our ball

-We destroy the oppositions 1st phase ball

-We are the guts of our ruck and maul ability

-We are ball carriers and should be physically assertive!

Who can help me do my job better?

-Scrum mates (locks and loose-forwards)

-Team-mates

-Backs: they set up the ball well and go forward

-Loose-forwards: They win the loose ball for us to run onto

-Scrumhalf: He communicates with us clearly and simply

How do I measure my performance?

-By doing the basics (perfectly)

-By my work rate and mobility around the field

-By filling in my performance charts- reaching my performance goals

-Communicate successfully (Discuss with team mates, coaches and mentors)

-The team sacrifices I make