One book published in 1996 stated that in senior rugby league, the five-eighth and hooker handled the ball more often than any other position. The Rugby League International Federation's Laws of the Game state that the "Stand-off half or Five-eighth" is to be numbered 6. However, traditionally players' jersey numbers have varied, and in the modern Super League, each squad's players are assigned individual numbers regardless of position.
Traditionally in rugby football, there have always been two half-backs as well as scrums involving the forwards. Of the two half backs, the name "scrum half" was given to the one which was involved in the scrum by feeding the ball into it and the name "stand-off half" was given to the one which stood away from the scrum. In Britain, where rugby league originated, this terminology has been retained. In Australian English however, "five-eighth" is the term used for the number 6, to differentiate from the half back which is number 7. In New Zealand, both terms appear to be used interchangeably.
Notable five-eighthsRoger Millward, Australia's Wally Lewis, Bob Fulton, Albert Rosenfeld and Vic Hey, and New Zealand's George Menzies.
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- Crego, Robert (2003). Sports and Games of the 18th and 19th Centuries. USA: Greenwood Press. pp. 101–104. ISBN 0-313-31610-4.
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