Boots Recommendation for a Number Eight
Rampaging off the back of the scrum, leaping in lineouts or fielding deep kicks – the role of a Number 8 is diverse indeed. A classic Number 8 is a big, ball running forward who chargers at the line and constantly makes the advanatge line. But the classic Number 8 is also gifted with the skills to control the ball at the back of the scrum, and the confidence to hang back and weight for lofted kicka, before returning them with interest!
Number 8s play a vital role in the scrum, holding the entire pack together and providing the icing on the cake when it comes to a dynamic 'hit' at the engagement. Hence their boots must provide optimal support and traction, whilst also allow them to be mobile and explosive with their movement around the park.
Here are some of the best boots on the market currently for Number 8s -
adidas FF80 – Constructed to deliver optimal traction the FF80 features a unique 5-2 stud configuration, with an additional stud having been added to the front of the boot, directly where loose-forwards need it most when scrummaging and driving. Although sturdy and robust the latest offering from adidas is light enough to ensure loose forwards loose nothing when it comes to mobility.
adidas R15 – Designed and developed with feedback from some of the world's leading number 8s including South African Pierre Spies, the R15 is made from Taurus leather, creating a natural look with water resistant and abrasion qualities. Six studs ensure traction is never an issue, while even the stud itself has been re-invent to help decrease the weight of the finished product.
Mizuno Wave Samurai – A versatile boot at home at the base of the scrum as much as it is in the second-row, the Wave Samurai boasts eight-studs for enhanced grip and stability, and a lightweight finish which sacrifices nothing in protection and support. Ultra-soft K Leather creates a durable finish, while the padded collar enhances comfort.
As part of the back row, the no.8 should work closely with his flankers to provide the link that maintains a forward movement of play. The number 8 must retain possession, recycle the ball and give the team continuity. In defence, he is an important figure in winning possession of the ball from the opposition.
In the scrum, the number 8 binds the locks and he drives when the ball comes in, this helps to transmit all the force in the scrum forwards. The number 8 has to control the ball at the back of the scrum with his feet, whilst maintaining his binding on the locks. He may need to transfer the ball to his right foot to allow his scrum half to pass the ball without interference from the opposite number 9. The number 8 may also pick up the ball from the scrum to start any back row moves.
Boots for number eights
As with the Lock, the no.8 needs a boot that is strong to withstand the forces of pushing in the scrum as well as driving off the ground when jumping in the line-out. The boot also needs to be flexible for speed around the pitch.