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Gavin Hastings
By Gavin Hastings
Former Scotland and Lions full-back

Traditionally the full-back has always been the last line of defence.

But for me the position has changed dramatically since the professional era took over. Defences are so well organised now, the full-back is hardly required in first phase play in defence.

And the full-back and two wingers are far more in collaboration and more capable of interchanging than they did when I played.

To me, England's Josh Lewsey epitomises the modern day full-back from the northern hemisphere. He has tremendous pace, he's brave and he's involved a heck of a lot in play.

Jason Robinson would look to run the ball out of defence as a first option

The full-back is also an important point of attack either as a decoy runner or taking the ball in hand.

Kicking played a bigger part in the amateur days, there were far more 'garryowens' (high up-and-unders) than you see today.

But you tend to see more kicks to the corners from stand offs for wingers to chase, rather than from the full-back.

Look at the way New Zealand play. Mils Muliana has so much pace and is used as an attacking force by the All Blacks. He brings so much flair to the game.

I'm not convinced he is defensive-orientated in any way.

And you could never say Jason Robinson was used defensively at full-back because his kicking was not all that great.

He would almost kick as a last line of defence - Robinson would always look to run the ball out of defence as a first option.

I think many full-backs are doing that now. Kicking is almost a last option these days.


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