EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Inside centre (12) and outside centre (13) – best players or best combination

England’s Henry Slade

Personally I think these are the two best positions on the field to play and, for me, the best combination wins. Teams with a strong combination at 12/13 in defence can really restrict your go forward first phase by limiting you to channel 1 attack (or kicking). Plus, against a good back row this increases the odds of turnover or slow ball even if you do get go forward.

In attack, a good 12/13 can really make a game of rugby, as opposed to two big bodies who just carry straight and hard.

The key attributes I look for are:

12 – strong defender, ball player (a short passing game in particular under pressure), kicking (short and contestable), evasive in heavy traffic, opportunistic – looks for a second touch, speed over 10-20.

13 – excellent defender and decision maker, strong ball runner with ability to keep feet in contact and offload, ability to catch the ball at pace at the line, catch and pass under pressure, speed over 10-40, kicking (long).

Both need to be strong communicators – the 12 to help lead the attack, the 13 to lead the defence. A kicking game is a bonus for both but key is how they complement each other in attack and mesh together in defence.

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