The role of the outside centre

Positional sense: outside centre

The outside centre (13) relies on his fly half (10) and inside centre (12) to create space for him, but he needs to be able to deliver the killer blow when it counts.

Physical importance

The outside centre needs to work on his acceleration over 20 metres and his ability to change direction and speed effectively.

Train with sprinting from a rolling start over a variety of distances between five and 30 metres. Introduce changes of direction and changes of pace at various points.

When the player is competent at changing pace and direction, introduce a ball. Start with the player holding the ball and progress to passing it to him at different phases of the run.

Key rugby coaching technique

The outside centre is at his most dangerous when he can break the line and give an accurate pass at pace to a support player. This exercise develops the outside centre’s need to break the tackle and make a decision about where and when to pass.

The player accelerates on to a pass and busts through the two tacklers with bags. He is then immediately faced with a two against one situation which he must exploit.

As he develops his rugby skills, add a second defender behind the tacklers with bags and another support player. This creates a challenging three against two scenario.

Positional sense for outside centre

World class outside centres to watch

Players can learn from watching rugby stars on TV. Here are three with different styles of play.

  • New Zealand: Conrad Smith
  • Ireland: Brian O’Driscoll
  • France: Yannick Jauzion

In particular look at these players’ running lines and how they move up in defence.

Click the link to get more rugby coaching tips delivered direct to your inbox when you subscribe to Rugby Coach Weekly, a rugby coaching newsletter which is designed for new rugby coaches and coaches of children and inexperienced players.

Click the link for more rugby coaching tips to improve your players’ tackling skills.

Share this
Follow us