Why the Winger Position is the Easiest in Rugby: A Controversial Perspective

Rugby is renowned for its physicality and complexity, with positions ranging from the powerhouse forwards in the pack to the nimble backs on the flanks. Among these positions, wingers often attract the perception of being the “easiest” to play, mainly due to their primary role in finishing off plays and scoring tries. Let’s delve into why the winger position might be perceived as simpler and less demanding than other roles.

1. Scoring Opportunities

Wingers are primarily tasked with exploiting scoring opportunities created by the forward pack and the other backs. Their main role is to finish off the play by crossing the try line. Compared to positions like forwards or playmakers, wingers don’t need to engage in as much strategic decision-making or direct ball-handling to create plays. Instead, they often benefit from simple, decisive movements, making it easier to focus on positioning and exploiting gaps.


A winger’s primary task is to capitalize on any gaps in the defense, with some wingers scoring over 30 tries in a single season. Their efficiency in scoring tries often relies on their speed and agility, allowing them to quickly react to the flow of the game.

2. Simpler Defensive Roles

Wingers often play a more reactive role in defense. Their primary responsibility is to cover their assigned flank, ensuring they can quickly adjust to the opposition’s attacking movements. Compared to centers or fullbacks, who may have to manage more complex defensive structures and decisions, wingers usually focus on anticipating and containing the opposition’s wingers or outside backs.


Wingers might have fewer tackles per game compared to centers or fullbacks. They are often less involved in high-contact plays and defensive rucks, focusing more on quick recoveries and positioning to react to threats.

3. Specialized Role in Support Play

Wingers can rely on specific, specialized roles that capitalize on their speed and agility rather than extensive decision-making. They often play a supplementary role in support play, where their primary job is to be in position to receive a pass or exploit gaps if the opposition defense breaks down. This lessens the cognitive load required during the game and allows for a more straightforward gameplay focus.

4. Limited Involvement in Set Pieces

Wingers are less involved in scrums and lineouts compared to forwards. Their presence in set pieces is minimal, allowing them to concentrate solely on executing quick, agile movements during live play. This limited involvement simplifies the overall tactical considerations for wingers, making the position relatively straightforward.


Statistics show that wingers are less involved in set-piece play than forwards or playmakers, emphasizing the simplified tactical role during the game.


While the winger position may be perceived as the “easiest” in rugby, it is essential to recognize that each position offers a distinct set of challenges and requirements. Wingers excel in their specialized role, focusing on speed, positioning, and agility. Their role, while less physically demanding in certain aspects, still requires an acute awareness of the game and a sharp sense of anticipation. Rugby positions are diverse and carry their own complexities, but the winger position’s simplicity in certain areas may contribute to its perception.

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