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England centre Jeremy Guscott breaking through midfield for the Lions

Photo: Getty Images

As the major midfield runners and tacklers, the inside and outside centres must possess all-round ball skills and have a watertight defensive game.  Backing up their fly half, they should be able to run, kick or pass as required, and be ready to aggressively tackle opponents head on.

Possessing pace and strength a centre should have the confidence to take on and beat his man, and off-load out of the tackle to aid the speed of an attack.  Likewise in defence, the centres should be ready to withstand and tackle everything the opposition throws at them.

Practices should include:

  • Tackling – one-on-one contact tackling, correct body position to optimise the ‘hit’
  • Running – taking the ball at pace – on the burst – to maximise yardage gained
  • Running – receiving passes from different angles and distances, while static and on the move
  • Running – making explosive breaks with ball in hand, with evasive running skills to avoid contact
  • Kicking – all types of kicks with both feet, varying the amounts of pressure and the difficulty of target
  • Kicking – place kicking for goal from different angles and distances
  • Passing ­– range of passing while on the run 

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