The difference between a Tighthead prop and a Loosehead prop
December 13, 20212 min read
Recently we saw Andrew Porter, of Ireland and Leinster, make the transition back from Tighthead to Loosehead. This move was made so Ireland could have their two best props, Furlong and Porter, on the field for as long as possible.
Whilst numbers 1 and 3 may seem very similar to the uneducated eye, this switch doesn't always go down so well. There are technicalities in each position that don't make them interchangeable. We will look at the specifics of each position.
In general, a prop's job is to scrummage and prop up against the opposing prop. No surprises there. In a scrum, the prop usually has to push forward until either side gives in or the ball is picked up by the scurm-half or number 8.
1. Loosehead prop - the prop on the left side of the scrum, whose job is to push against the opposing Tighthead prop.
3. Tighthead prop - the prop on the right side of the scrum, whose job is to push against the opposing Loosehead prop.
The Loosehead prop pushes with their left arm and the tighthead pushes with their right.
Nowadays, prop forwards are typically placed in one of these two positions based on their size and strength. The Loosehead prop is usually the smaller and weaker prop, while the Tighthead prop is usually the bigger and stronger prop.
This isn't always the case, however. Some Loosehead props are bigger and stronger than the Tighthead partnering them in the scrum.
Some famous Loosehead prop players include:
- Phil Vickery (England)
- John Hayes (Ireland)
- Gethin Jenkins (Wales)
- Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
Some famous Tighthead prop players include:
- Mike Ross (Ireland)
- Owen Franks (New Zealand)
- Ben Tameifuna (Tonga)
-Os Du Rant (South Africa)
Other Props who have played both positions in their career include: