A rugby team has eight forwards and seven backs; the forwards try to gain and retain possession of the ball, and the backs are faster and have better kicking skills.
“Forwards win matches and backs decide by how much” is a popular rugby adage of unknown authorship. “Forwards win matches and backs decide by how many” was cited in print in 2004. “The old story that ‘forwards win matches and backs by how much’ I think is outdated” was cited in 2006. “The old adage that ‘forwards win matches and backs decide by how many points’” was cited in 2007.
Wikipedia: Rugby union
Rugby union, or simply rugby, is a contact team sport, which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.
Teams and positions
Each team starts the match with 15 players on the field and seven or eight substitutes. Players in a team are divided into eight forwards (two more than in rugby league) and seven backs.
The main responsibilities of the forward players are to gain and retain possession of the ball. Players in these positions are generally bigger and stronger and take part in the scrum and line-out. The forwards are often collectively referred to as the ‘pack’, especially when in the scrum formation.
The backs’ role is to create and convert point-scoring opportunities. They are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. Another distinction between the backs and the forwards is that the backs are expected to have superior kicking skills, especially the fly-half and full-back.
The Herald (Scotland)
Bragging rights at stake as Sititi sounds the battle cry Samoan captain determined to put one over the Scots
Kevin Ferrie in wellington
Friday 4 June 2004
While the new management is trying to develop a total rugby approach, Blackadder remains a subscriber to the view that, at Test level at least, forwards win matches and backs decide by how many.
Apr 7, 2006
SOrry gonna go with Helen on this one!
The old story that “forwards win matches and backs by how much” I think is outdated..(Toulose have a better pack than Munster) and the new story in my opinion makes more sense : “tries win matches and leinster backs by how many to spare!”
The New Zealand Herald
Rugby: England make good on their promise
By Julian Guyer
5:39 PM Friday Oct 19, 2007
Australia, one of the more attractive sides in world rugby union, came next. But never was the old adage that “forwards win matches and backs decide by how many points” as appropriate as it was in England’s 12-10 quarter-final win over the Wallabies where prop Andrew Sheridan, not for the first time, wreaked havoc upon the Australia scrum.
The Guardian (UK)
Tuesday 19 February 2008 19.10 EST
Is Jonny Wilkinson still the best fly-half in English rugby? Yes.
By Ollie Campbell
The criticism of Jonny Wilkinson over the past couple of weeks has been unwarranted. It is a team game and England’s poor start to the Six Nations cannot all be his fault. I don’t want to bore anyone with the old cliche that forwards win matches and backs determine by how much but it still holds in the professional era.
Everyone’s quoting Piennar now - Kidney “forwards win matches and backs decide by how many points” #rugby
5:34 AM - 17 Sep 2011
After a weekend of decent rugby the adage of forwards win matches and backs decide by how much has been proven. Wales + belief = RWC
7:29 AM - 9 Oct 2011
The Telegraph (UK)
Six Nations 2013, Scotland v Italy: Dean Ryan enables hosts to find a way forward at Murrayfield
Last Updated: 1:42PM GMT 11/02/2013
This was a game won in the trenches, a victory founded on grunt not glitz, the perfect reminder that forwards win matches and backs only decide by how much.
The Scotsman (Scotland)
Six Nations: David Denton to bring third row energy
By IAIN MORRISON
00:24 Friday 13 March 2015
Even in the absence of Dunbar the Scottish backline still has a few lethal weapons but it is difficult to escape the old adage that forwards win matches and backs decide by how much.