A rugby centre needs good handling and running skills to carry out the
team plans. Ready for anything. What to expect if you make this your position.
There are two 'centre' positions in the group of 7 'backs'
Centres are positioned 'outside' the flyhalf, providing a link to the wings.
Assuming the scrum is towards the left touchline, the centres and wings
fit into the player positioning on the field like this...
The three-quarters in relation to a scrum
If the scrum was towards
the right side of the field the backs would line out the opposite
way to this image.
If the scrum was near the centre of the field the team may choose to
have one centre either side of the scrum.
The way the backs line up tends to be dictated by the side putting
the ball into the scrum (or the lineout).
It is usually the 'putting-in' side which will get the ball so the
other side attempts to be prepared to defend by matching their line-up.
Centre physiques vary.
Of the backs they tend to be
the bigger, stockier players - but they really can be anything.
The two centres in a team tend to specialise
one as the inside centre closer to the fly-half..
one as the outside centre, further from the fly-half - 'outside'
the inside centre
The inside centre (called 2nd five-eighth in New Zealand)
sometimes plays a similar role
to that of the fly-half (sharing the load).
You run at the opposition, making breaks if possible or
pass the ball quickly to faster outside players if warranted.
The stronger you are in these areas the better
Speed and good acceleration
Vision for seeing all the options and a good rugby
brain for knowing what those options are
Agility and elusiveness, those flankers are coming for
you as hard and as fast as they can, not forgetting your opposition centre!
Ability to handle the ball well under pressure
Kicking ability, grubber kicks and chip kicks
Strength and bulk for barging through the opposition
and playing a strong part when you are defending
At scrum time
As a centre you are well away from scrums, simply occupying territory
and waiting to see what happens.
If your team gets the ball you attack. If their team gets it you defend.
The decisions the scrum half and flyhalf make greatly affect
how the centres are involved in the game.
When they kick
you chase try and regain possession
or contain the opposition player who gathers the ball
When they pass, you are involved
you catch and take the ball through a gap
or attempt to run over or through the opposition
or pass cleverly (quickly or delayed)
to create space for the players outside you
Sometimes the half-backs run gain ground
so you position yourself in support in such a way as to
give them options about how to continue.
If you are a rugby centre and defending
you must tackle your opposite number
believe in the abilty of the players on either side of you
and stay in position to tackle your own player
only when absolutely essential tackle someone else.
At line-out time
Like the scrum, you are waiting to see what happens, then attack or
defend as appropriate.
What thehalf-backs do determines how you are involved in play.
Assuming you practice sufficiently and well you will be able to
succeed with any planned moves or deal well with anything else that happens.
In general play
Centres tend to be
elusive, skillful, hard tackling, tactically aware players.
When you are at centre what you do depends on
actions taken by the half-backs.
Depending on circumstance
you must be ready for any of the following
getting over the advantage line as quickly as possible
being elusive while running
chasing all types of kicks
chip kicks which you chase and regather
'up-and-unders' you charge on to
grubber kicks to dive onto behind the goal-line
to recieve the ball and pass to faster moving players in better positions
to deal with cut out passes which create overlaps
for moves called to confuse the opposition
for dummies from the ball carrier
for passes back inside - either ones you make
or ones sent in your direction
As a rugby centre you have plenty of opportunity to
vary the options you take for passing, kicking and running.
By mixing up the options you take you create uncertainty
in the opposition defence which makes it easier to
succeed with planned moves.
And remember, do enough good practice so
you`ll be the best sidestepper you can be!
Player sizes contains information about centres.
Jamie Roberts is a big centre but size didn`t matter here.
This Lions try came from a well planned move.
Famous centres include...