It’s the same in any sport, the rules and characteristics of the game will determine what type of physical and mental attributes the player must have in order to be successful.
With rugby, the main characteristics of the game include immense power, strength, speed, agility and determination. The perfect player should have all of these attributes.
Strength – A rugby player must be strong to deal with the demands from scrums, tackling and being dominant in the breakdown. No matter what body type, there is a peak strength level needed to be successful and also avoid injury. Strength should be considered in terms of body type and not necessarily the position played.
Power & Speed – These qualities are obvious in terms of a game of rugby, with speed referring to the amount of acceleration required and velocity. Acceleration is a crucial action to get to all areas of the field and includes the need to change direction suddenly, getting into the correct tackling position and dodging defenders. Reaching maximum velocity is especially important for the back position, who needs to race away for a try or chase an attacker.
Power in a game of rugby can be measured in the need to perform vertical jumps. Jumping is a crucial ability for line out jumpers and those players with the task of receiving the high ball under pressure. The ability to jump at height is also important for the forwards in scrummaging and every player during a tackle-ruck.
Determination – This can also be called endurance. Whilst a rugby needs to be strong with good power and speed, it must be remembered that the game is played over 80 minutes and can involve distances as much as 6000m whilst enduring scrums, rucks and tackles. This calls for a high level of determination and endurance to succeed. Training also requires significant distances to be covered, so endurance is a key attribute for playing the sport.
Some of the training involved includes an activity similar to the traditional beep test run over a 20m return shuttle. The test begins on a higher speed than a conventional beep test, with a small break to allow players to work up to a much higher intensity. Bring in some new Rugby Drills to motivate your players. Visit https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/Passing/practiceIndex.jsp
It is also not uncommon for training to include a 1.6km run. This could involve a 100m run on a rugby field, a turn and another 100m run for 8 circuits until 1.6km has been reached.
To conclude, it is clear that to perform at the highest levels of the game, excellent physical attributes are required. Abilities that are the most essential include power, speed, strength, endurance and agility. The levels that players are able to perform at will depend significantly on that player’s physical make up, qualities and of course, the demands of the position that they play.