Sure, at the elite level a centre has to have a range of skills – great defence, great hands and distribution skills, pace, at inside centre a kicking game to rival the fly-half, at outside centre a devastating outside break…but how many centres at your rugby club are blessed with all that?
No, most centres at most clubs have one or more of the following attributes:
- Tunnel vision – when this type of player gets the ball he is inevitably magnetically attracted straight towards his opposite number, oblivious to any calls of support from outside him or from his pursuing back row. Even having been flattened several times he continues to be drawn down this narrow channel – it’s why all backs who want to see the ball always volunteer to play inside centre.
- Lateral drift – this type of player has absolutely no concept of running in a straight line and, as soon as he gets the ball runs sideways towards the farthest touchline, pushing the rest of the backs into an impossibly tight 5 metre channel before either throwing a hospital pass, being flattened himself or literally running into touch. Much loved by back row forwards.
- Kicking delusions – this player believes he should be a fly half and so kicks nearly every piece of possession he receives. The trouble is that when he kicks it is always an adventure as neither he nor anyone else has a clue of where the ball will go. If it does go forward (by no means guaranteed) it inevitably ends up straight down the fullback’s throat or goes out on the full. He also takes every opportunity to try for a drop goal, spurning four man overlaps as his comical attempts either never make it off the ground or soar majestically over the corner flag.
- Impossibly neat kit – for some reason centres are usually immaculately turned out, with socks up, shirt tucked in and shorts neatly pressed. Not only that, but they are often permanently tanned and their hair is rarely ever out of place. They nearly always look the most impressive players on the pitch until they get the ball.
That about sums it up. Hope it helps.