The Australia back offers tips on exploiting space in midfield

Matt Toomua: How to find space at centre

Matt Toomua has won more than 50 caps for Australia, with his versatility allowing him to feature at international level at both fly-half and centre.

Here the Wallaby, who has played for Leicester Tigers as well as Aussie franchises Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels, explains how to find space in midfield…

The vision

“As a 12 you need peripheral vision. We have a little more time than the ten, so when the ball is released from a set-piece our eyes are up early. You need spatial awareness and to identify where you are. It’s vital you communicate with the players either side of you.”

The analysis

“Before the game I do a lot of analysis on the trends of the opposition wingers. If they defend high in the line and come up hard, I try to exploit the space behind them. 
I spend some time analysing 
my opposite player, but it’s the guys out wide I focus on.”

The options

“If you’re in the middle of the field, chances are their wingers are going to be set deep so you have space on the flank for, say, a kick-pass. If you’re in the opposition’s half, chances are they
 will press a bit further up, so you have to identify that space behind them to capitalise with a grubber, chip over the top or looping pass.”


The basics

“Ryan Crotty is the first guy picked in the All Blacks for his ability to identify space and do the basics. A 12 needs to be a jack-of-all-trades – the glue and balance in the back-line.”

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine.

Every month Rugby World features advice from professional players and coaches on specific skills.

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