Midfield backs / Centres
- Stand deep but run onto the ball to create maximum commitment from the defence while giving those being passed to time to perform their role.
- Generally know whom the ball is to be passed before receiving it.
- Make a ‘sympathetic’ pass that gives the receiver options.
- Pass only to a player who is in a better position.
- Do not be forced into passing if the area becomes congested. Rather, retain possession, stand in the tackle, draw supporting players to the ball and make the transfer hand to hand, reducing the risk of interference.
- Be able to pass before, in and through the tackle.
- Make space for the extra player joining an attack by moving into the pass, thus creating space on the outside.
- The wiper’s kick to the open-side is often very successful, especially from scrum possession, because the open-side wing has had to move forward to the front line defence.
- Be aware of the positioning of the opposing blind-side wing. This player can often drift across field as an open-side attack develops, allowing a kick back towards the blind-side to be made.
- When following and contesting an up-and-under kick, run just beyond the flight of the ball so that it is being caught while turning with the player’s team-mates. This reduces the likelihood of a knock forward. The player should also jump early to catch the ball on the way down. This prevents a defending player from jumping directly up to the ball.
- Run straight to give left and right penetrating options.
- During set moves, run predictable lines so that supporting players can perform their roles.
- Create space for support players by veering left to create space on the right and veering right to create space on the left.
- Run in balance so that running and passing manoeuvres can be executed successfully.
- When the defence drifts to defend elsewhere, retain possession and penetrate using evasive running skills.
- When in support as a decoy, draw defenders away from the point of penetration.
- Develop ‘lanes’ when running in support of the ball carrier so that the ball carrier knows where the support is.
- Be able to vary the pace of running.
- Retain and re-cycle the ball after being tackled.
- Provide support at the post tackle and ruck if you are nearby.
- Maintain alignment to prevent defensive gaps so that the whole attack can be seen as it develops.
- Identify the designated ball carrier and defend that player from the inside.
- Tackle to prevent territory being gained and, if possible, to regain possession.