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Full Back

Lee Byrne clears upfield for the Lions on the 2009 tour to South Africa

Photo: Getty Images

As the last line of defence, the full back needs the full complement of attacking and defensive skills, and has time and space to see the game unfold.  Strong in the tackle and fast across the ground, a full back must be quick to make tactical decisions.

In attack, they can become the extra man in the line, coming from deep to exploit a gap or becoming a decoy runner.  If possession is kicked to into their half, they should look to counter-attack at pace in conjunction with deep-lying wingers.

With a wide range of vision, full backs can help organise the defence and should cover at pace if the defensive line is broken.  Their catching skills should be excellent, both leaping to field high kicks and retreating to deal with low kicks.  Having a long boot to relieve pressure is also useful.

Practices should include: 

  • Catching – fielding all types of kicks when moving towards and away from own line, under varying pressure
  • Kicking – kicking for touch, into space to pressure opposition, and  accuracy kicking at targets with partner
  • Running – running in open play, evading tackles and exploiting gaps at speed
  • Tackling – one-on-one tackling, using pitch angles to chase down offensive runners

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