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…
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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“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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