Well lets look at the demands of the sport. To be a successful rugby player you must possess physical qualities, such as strength, agility, muscular endurance, flexibility, and quickness. We both know that elite level rugby players are among the most highly conditioned athletes in the world. You often here the expression, “it is not a sprint it’s a marathon.” What makes rubgy unique is that is both. It requires athletes to have the endurance to withstand the constant motion during the course of the game. However, endurance alone is not enough. You must also possess excellent short burst speed, as well as the ability to start and stop on a dime.
To play elite level rugby you also must possess a powerful lower body. Your ability to run and tackle will be determined by your ability to generate force. We all know that force = mass X acceleration (squared). To increase your ability to generate force you must increase your mass, and your ability to accelerate that mass. Not only that, but the added muscle mass will help you absorb being on the receiving end of big tackles. Rugby is a tough sport, and rugby strength training is crucial. There are no pads when you play rugby. However the best protection you can have is additional muscle mass. Think of it as armor. It increases your ability to hit, and to be hit. Ultimately, it makes you a force to be reckoned with, which is the purpose of your rugby workout. So how do we address all the requirements of the sport in our rubgy workout? We have to find a balance between speed, strength and endurance. We have to add muscle mass in the right places without overdoing it and becoming muscle-bound and slow. We have to find that perfect balance to build the perfect rugby player.
All things being equal, the stronger, better conditioned athlete will win. This is especially true for a hybrid sport such as rugby. The programming of your rugby workout should reflect this.