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Zackary To Debut at Center For Chiefs

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Zackary To Debut at Center For Chiefs

Kate Zackary has shown she can run. Photo Exeter Chiefs.

USA WNT captain Kate Zackary will make her debut at center for the Exeter Chiefs this weekend in the Women's Premiership.

Zackary, of course, is normally a loose forward and has been tearing up the league at flanker throughout the season. But injuries in the Chiefs backline have forced Zackary to line up at outside center, next to her USA teammate Gabby Cantorna, who starts once more at inside center.

"I get to play alongside Gabby so that's exciting," Zackary told Goff Rugby Report. 

Informed earlier this week that she would be playing center, Zackary has been taking reps there, and seeing how much ground one has to cover at full pace when you're an outside back.

"My GPS has been blowing up," she joked. "They told me to keep it simple and keep doing what I'm doing and just run hard."

Zackary should have now trouble accomplishing that and no trouble making her tackles. The main concern will be that she stays out of some of the rucks.

"It's a little strange to be 30 meters from where all the fun is," she said, referring to staying out of the breakdown. It's something, of course, every forward has to do as they split off to support runners for the next ruck, but as a back she will still have to reminder herself that she's a back.

Exeter Head Coach Susia Appleby has no qualms about putting Zackary in the #13 jersey against Saracens.

“Kate is a very good player. She’s played on the 7s circuit, she’s quick, very versatile and very able. We’re not going to massively change the way we play because she puts a 13 shirt on. 7 and 13 are quite interchangeable skills.”

Zackary's 70-meter gallop against Wasps two weeks ago might also have helped Appleby to that conclusion.

Along with Zackary and Cantorna, USA players Rachel Johnson and Joanna Kitlinski are also on the gameday roster for Exeter. Johnson will start at openside flanker, while Kitlinski is on at the bench at hooker.

Exeter has won seven in a row and the last victory, 31-29 over Wasps, was all about Cantorna, who was perfect from the kicking tee with four conversions and the game-winning penalty, and also made the game-saving tackle to prevent a try as time expired.