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05 August 2011

The perfect rugby player

The face of rugby has changed. The overweight props of the first World Cup in 1987 have been replaced by much leaner, more muscular players. What now makes perfect rugby player?

The face of rugby has changed. The overweight props of the first World Cup, played in 1987, have been replaced by much leaner, more muscular players. What does it take to be the perfect rugby player?

The rules of the game have changed, the players are more professional, and there is a greater risk for overuse injuries and staleness, writes Coopoo.

  • More ball in play during the game – fewer scrums and lineouts.
  • More power play required in rucks and mauls.
  • Play is at a higher work intensity – almost throughout the game.
  • Players' anthropometric profiles have changed because of the changing demands of the game. More imploding forwards and backs are required – players with more muscle than fat.

  • Most national rugby players are full-time professionals.
  • More time for players to get fit and skilful.
  • However, a fine balance has to be struck between optimal performance and overtraining.

  • A greater reliance on the advice and wisdom of the medical team.
  • For game preparation a team approach is required in the modern game – expertise from various professionals is required.

  • All-round muscular endurance and strength for jumping and lifting in line-out, power loose-play, held positions and pushing in scrums rucks and mauls and for tackling/blocking
  • Speed/power to overcome inertia, for short powerful sprints, ability to sustain speed power, jinking movements, fast breakaways and for exploding through a tackle.
  • Anaerobic power for the ability to run and play rugby at the highest intensity for short periods of time.
  • Aerobic power for the ability to run and play the game at the highest intensity for prolonged periods of time.
  • Agility for the ability to suddenly change direction or body position and for good lateral movement.
  • Flexibility for the ability to move the joint freely through full range of motion, during tackles and unusual body positions in loose rucks.
  • Co-ordination: hand-eye co-ordination in anticipation of interceptions, passes and tackles.
  • Balance for maintaining balance after emerging from a tackle, ruck or maul.

 
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