While the All-Out anime didn’t light the world on fire in 2016, it managed to find itself a cult following. However, considering that rugby isn’t exactly well-known worldwide, chances are you don’t know the sport. You might be intimidated to check out All-Out, what with all the weird rules and terms. Well, no worries! We’re here to help. Here’s a quick rundown on the rules and positions of the rugby, using character examples from All-Out.
In rugby, the player with the ball must always be up in front. At no point is the player with the ball allowed to pass it forward to any other player, and must pass the ball before they are tackled. Making it to the other side of the field with ball in hand awards the scoring team a try, which equates to 5 points. Then they’ll have the chance to get an extra 2 points with a conversion kick.
Wings are the offensive players who are up front and are there to protect whoever has the ball. Ebumi Masaru of Kanagawa High, being wild and competitive, is naturally suited to this kind of aggressive position. He relishes the opportunity to crush his foes. Ebumi just loves to get into people’s heads, taunting them for how much he just destroyed them. He’s even been known to lovingly reattach the helmet of an opponent just so he’ll be safe for Ebumi’s next explosive tackle.
Despite its reputation as a violent sport, you do need to coordinate your players in rugby. The Fly-Half (or Stand-Off as it’s called in All-Out) handles this. The basic purpose of this position is to decide where the ball needs to go next and coordinate the flow of the offense. This generally goes to the most clever player on the team. At Kanagawa High, that fits Ooharano Etsugo to a tee. He’s got the added talent of passing to other players without even having to look at them, which is an invaluable skill for a Fly-Half.
Hooker, Props, and Locks
Whenever you visualize rugby, you probably think of a giant pile of men leaping on one another just to grab the ball. What you’re probably thinking of is the scrum, a set-piece that’s called by the referee to re-establish who has possession of the ball. This is when two teams link arms with their other teammates and fight for the ball in the center. At the center of this man-pile is the Hooker, who is often one of the smallest members of the team and jumps into the center to fish out the ball. However, this is not always the case, as seen in All-Out. Hachioji Mutsumi serves as the hooker despite being a hefty fellow. However, his bulk allows him to push others out of the way. Outside of the scrum, though, the Hooker is often tasked with defensive plays, which Hachiouji excels at.
However, Hachiouji isn’t just using his own strength during a scrum. He’s also got the Props who support his weight and push him forward, who in turn are supported by Locks. Locks are stereotypically the taller members of the team, and in All-Out that’s no exception. Iwashimizu Sumiaki serves as the Lock, standing at a whopping 190 cm tall. That’s some pretty serious height for Japanese rugby.
Flankers and Number Eight
Flankers are something of the all-rounders of rugby. Though, technically, they are a defensive position, they find themselves working offense frequently too. They basically do everything; tackling, recovering the ball, passing; pretty much anything you can think of on the rugby pitch. It’s no surprise that Gion Kenji, the main character of All-Out, would find himself in a Flanker position. Specifically, he serves as the Wing Forward, which is the Flanker who is positioned on the open side of the field. Though, traditionally, Wing Forwards are smaller than their blindside (the side closest to the offense’s own goal) counterparts, the difference isn’t generally so stark! However, Gion makes it work by being so small that he can directly attack taller players in their center of gravity, giving him a strange advantage as a Flanker.
Meanwhile, Number Eights are something of the “head Flankers” of the rugby pitch. They share the same responsibilities as Flankers, but with the added responsibility of being allowed to pick up the ball after the scrum. This puts the team’s Number Eight at the forefront of both offense and defense. Naturally, on the Kanagawa High team, this falls to the team’s captain Sekizan Takuya. Sekizan has an insane talent for both passing and tackling, able to pass one-handed and can successfully tackle opponents bigger than him. Combined with excessive stamina, Sekizan more than meets the requirements to be a Number Eight.
While this doesn’t cover all the rules and positions in rugby, this should hopefully give you a better idea of how it is played. And, who knows? If you want a better understanding, go check out All-Out and see it in action!
Know more about rugby yourself? Please advise other readers and help them understand rugby! We didn’t even get to Mauls!