The livewire Italy back gives his top tips on attacking from 15
Matteo Minozzi: How to attack from full-back
In 2018 Matteo Minozzi became the first Italian to score in four consecutive Six Nations matches and was duly nominated for the Player of the Championship award.
Injury curtailed his progress somewhat but when fit he adds a real spark to the Italy back division, with the footwork, pace and vision to cause defenders numerous problems. Here the back-three player explains how – and when – to launch attacks from No 15…
“What factors determine whether to run the ball back or to kick it? Decision-making is quite instinctive, and you don’t get as much time as you do in training.
“My principle is to scan the defensive line: the better aligned it is, the more I’ll kick to put pressure on opponents; then maybe I’ll attack if I get the ball back. Looking for mismatches or dog-legs in their line is also crucial.”
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“Never be scared to attack. My will is always to attack when the chance arises, but lots of factors affect that decision. Where are you on the field? Do you have support? What kind of match are you involved in? Sometimes you must be more pragmatic, because you should never put your own team under pressure.”
Time it right
“Running onto a pass at speed, particularly in the wide channels where the pass may be longer, requires a lot of practice. It’s all about the timing. I like entering the line between 13 and the wing; the spaces are wider and you can run in or out, or put in a grubber.”
“As with running, things like the field zone and opponents’ coverage affect how attack-minded you are when kicking. I normally focus on kicking to touch, but I sometimes use a more attacking grubber kick to launch myself or a winger. Good communication between the back three is essential when deciding whether to kick or run the ball.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine.
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