Are Rugby Players Tall? [HEIGHT ANALYSIS]

Generally speaking, professional rugby players are taller on average than the man on the street. However, as in many sports, the height of the player depends on the position they play on the field.

Therefore, we need to have a closer look at the role that height plays in rugby, and whether it matters if a player is short or tall.

Are Rugby Players Usually Tall?

The majority of a 15-man rugby union team will generally be taller than average. For example, of the 55-man England squad named for the 2020-21 season, only 11 were under 6ft tall, and some only marginally so.

Rugby players come in different sizes, and so do their pay packets. The bigger their standing in the sport the better their pay is, which stands to reason.

Does Height Help in Rugby?

For most positions, height, and indeed weight, is a huge advantage in rugby. Players generally need to be tall and strong given the physical requirements of the sport.

For example, the players in the front row need to be heavy but also have a low centre of gravity in the scrum, and it is thought nowadays that 6ft is the optimum height for these players.

Meanwhile, locks are responsible for securing possession from line-outs, and have to be the tallest players on the field – so much so that they wouldn’t look out of place on an NBA court.

What is the Average Height of a Rugby Player?

The average height of a male rugby player is around 6ft 2in, considerably taller than the average height of a British man.

Of course, the average height also depends on the position played on the field. There is no point in having a short player as a lock or an extremely tall scrum-half.

On average, a scrum-half is 5ft 9in tall, fly-halves and wingers are 6ft, centres are 6ft 1in, flankers 6ft 3in and locks a huge 6ft 6in.

There is little difference between player heights in rugby union and rugby league, with the average rugby league player also being between 6ft 1in and 6ft 2in.

England Rugby Player Heights

This was the squad picked by head coach Eddie Jones to play in the final match of the Six Nations against Ireland in March 2021.

Max Malins5ft 11inAnthony Watson6ft 2in
Henry Slade6ft 3inOwen Farrell6ft 2in
Jonny May6ft 1inGeorge Ford5ft 10in
Ben Youngs5ft 10inMako Vunipola5ft 11in
Luke Cowan-Dickie6ftKyle Sinckler5ft 9in
Maro Itoje6ft 5inCharlie Ewels6ft 6in
Mark Wilson6ft 3inTom Curry6ft 1in
Billy Vunipola6ft 2inJamie George6ft
Ellis Genge6ft 2inWill Stuart6ft 2in
Jonny Hill6ft 7inBen Earl6ft
Dan Robson5ft 8inOllie Lawrence5ft 11in
Elliot Daly6ft

Can Rugby Players Be Short?

Rugby players can indeed be short, and many down the years have been – but a lack of height is the exception rather than the rule. Japan’s Fumiaki Tanaka was the shortest player at the last Rugby World Cup in 2019, standing at 5ft 5in.

Tanaka describes his height as an advantage, and it hasn’t stopped him from racking up 75 appearances for his country, and scoring 40 points in the process.

Scrum-half Dan Robson is the shortest player in the current England rugby union squad at 5ft 8in.

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Thomas Smith

Tommy is a freelance writer and editor based in Spain but originally from the north east of Scotland. A former daily newspaper reporter, he is passionate about football, loves cricket and snooker and enjoys watching most sports.

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