Hey Folks, today let’s enter the mad bad world of Inside Centre. Incidentally, after playing everywhere in the back line, the position I have settled on for the foreseeable future. Like a lot of rugby positions, number 12’s come in all shapes and sizes depending on the balance of the team around them. Some Squads require a big ball carrying Centre, to get the team over the gain-line and onto the front foot. Big Jamie Roberts is a classic example, often receiving off-the-top line-out ball directly from the 9 and sticking it up the jumper in a rather effective fashion. New Zealand have opted for the ‘larger’ option too in recent years, going with the freakishly athletic Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams (see above). Don’t be fooled though, height isn’t everything in this category. POWER is the key. Don’t forget the wrecking ball addition of Wales and Lions legend, Scott Gibbs.
On the other side of the coin some teams prefer to stick a more creative playmaker at 12; the Wesley Fofanas and Matt Giteaus of this world. Often players such as Giteau could be deployed as very attacking Fly Halves, but are best suited to 12 because they have less responsibility and more chance to create as second receiver. This also takes a lot of the pressure of the man in the 10 shirt in the process. Someone I would put in this category is James O’Connor (also, see above). This video shows highlights a 2011 crusaders v force Super Rugby game, where a 20 year-old O’Connor holds his own against the mighty Sonny Bill. For me, it is O’Connor best position where he gets the most attacking touches of the ball, but where he doesn’t have to ‘game manage’ so much, freeing him up to play…and If you’re reading Ewen McKenzie, I for one would enjoy seeing him back there sometime soon.
Most importantly, this video identifies what huge impact both types of 12 can have on the game for their team. It may not be a training video, but any young aspiring centers at home: watch, learn and enjoy this diverse position.
Video Credit: Gracchi