What Does A Flanker Do In Rugby?

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Written By Hutch

A rugby team is like part of the human body. Each player has a role. The flanker stands out as a versatile force on the pitch. 

In this guide, you will get to explore the diverse roles and impact of flankers on the sport.

Roles of a Flanker

Let’s look at how much Flankers can manage different responsibilities.

Defensive Roles

  1. Tackles Opponents: Flankers target their opponent’s core players and tackle their attacking moves.
  2. Regains control of the match: They hustle for the ball in mauls to regain control.

Offensive Responsibilities

  1. Creates more room for attacking: Flankers spot and leverage gaps in the opponent’s defense. This improves the team’s scoring chances.
  2. Cushions ball carriers: They guide the ball carriers, ensuring consistency in attacking moves.

Top 4 Rugby Flankers in History and Their Impacts

Image: Number Four

Here are some of the top 4 rugby Flankers and how they have contributed their quotas to the game:

  1. Michael Jones: Mike shone through an All Blacks team, and he went viral. First ever player to clinch a try in the World Cup. 
  2. George Smith: Smith blazed the trail of the modern Rugby. He represented Australia 110 times between 2000-2009.
  3. Richard Hill: In 2003, Hill won the World Cup for England through Woodward. His sturdy supporting and tackling skills make him deserving of this list.
  4. Jean-Pierre Rives: Rives is the epitome of excellence and determination. He participated as a flanker 59 times despite restrictions regarding his small stature.
Notable Rugby FlankersImpact(s)
Michael Jones First ever flanker to score a try in the World Cup.
George Smithrepresented Australia 110 times.
Richard Hillwon the 2003 Rugby World Cup for England. 
Jean-Pierre Rives represented his team 59 times.



  • What is the key role of a flanker in rugby?

The key role of a flanker in rugby is to ensure consistency in the attacking moves. 

  • Who are the top Rugby flankers of all time?

Michael Jones, George Smith, Richard Hill, and Jean-Pierre Rives. 


Flankers strike a balance between the offensive and defensive sides. They nourish or mar the progress of the game. So, whether you’re a passerby, a coach, or a player, you need to recognize the indispensability of flankers.

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