By John Phillips
August 26 2019
The Backs, the fancy boys, the prancing ponies. The elegant dancing princes who decide by how much you win a game by.
So expect to perform under pressure when the going gets seriously tough. If you can suddenly turn defence into attack, make those important last-ditch tackles and make the extra man in attack, look no further than the full-back.
If you're the fastest runner in your team, there's only one place for you - the wing. Speed is what the winger is all about - and you need plenty of it.
But to be a truly classy winger, you need to pick up those difficult passes in tight spaces. So as well as the speed of a sprinter, you need hands like glue - the ball needs to stick to you every time you get it.
But don't think you're only responsibility is in attack. Often the winger can be the last line of defence, so you need to be able to make those important tackles when they count.
Need to have a strong all-round game: they need to be able to break through opposition lines and pass the ball accurately. When attack turns into defence they need to be strong in the tackle. Usually the two centres are divided into outside centre and inside centre, though sometimes teams play with left and right centres.
The outside is typically the lighter, more agile of the two centres. They are the "rapiers" that are given the ball, normally via the fly half, to make breaks through the opposition backs before offloading to the wingers after drawing the last line of defence. An outside centre should be very strong, fast and able to pass with pinpoint accuracy under pressure.
The inside centre tends to be the larger of the two centres. In defence or attack, the inside centre is always in the thick of the action, drawing the opposition's defence, making the breaks to make the space for the outside centre and dishing out the tackles in defence along with the forwards. Some of the skills of the fly-half, such as distribution and kicking, can be advantageous to inside centres, as they may be expected to act as fly-halves if the normal fly-half is involved in a ruck or maul.
Fly half is short for flying half back because they take the ball on the run. They are probably the most influential players on the pitch.
The fly half is the person who makes key decisions during a game such as whether to kick for space, move the ball wide or run with the ball themselves.
They should be very fast, able to kick with both feet, have brilliant handling skills, and operate well under pressure.
Games are rarely won on tries alone, which makes the fly-half the most important player in the side as they are usually the side's kicker, and therefore main points-scorer.
Notable fly-halves include: Jonny Wilkinson (England and Lions), Grant Fox (New Zealand), Phil Bennett (Wales and Lions), Rob Andrew (England), Andrew Mehrtens (New Zealand), Barry John (Wales and Lions), Stephen Larkham (Australia), Daniel Carter (New Zealand)
THE SCRUM HALF:
Scrum halves form the all-important link between the forwards and the backs. They normally act as the 'General' for the forwards and are always at the centre of the action. A scrum half is normally relatively small but with a high degree of vision, the ability to react to situations very quickly, and good handling skills.
They are often the first tackler in defence and are behind every scrum, maul or ruck to get the ball out and maintain movement. They put the ball into the scrum and collect it afterwards; they also are allowed to stand further forward than other backs at a line-out to try to catch knock downs from the jumper.
It is also not unusual to have talkative scrum-halves in competitive situations. Though technically illegal, most scrum-halves will subtlyalert the referee to fouls and infringments commited by the opposing team.
Notable scrum-halves include Nick Farr-Jones (Australia), Justin Marshall (New Zealand), Sid Going (New Zealand), Gareth Edwards (Wales and Lions), George Gregan (Australia),
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