A Framework for the Physical Development of Elite Rugby Union Players

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Grant M. Duthie
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Increased professionalism in rugby has resulted in national unions developing high-performance models for elite player development, of which physical preparation is an important component, to ensure success in future years. This article presents a 5-step framework for the physical preparation of elite players in a development program. Competition movement patterns and the physical profiles of elite players are used as the basis of the framework and reinforce the repeated high-intensity nature of Rugby Union. Physical profiling highlights a player’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of strength, speed, endurance, and body composition. These qualities need to be managed with an understanding of their interaction. This framework should be implemented within the yearly plan to ensure that benefits are maximized from the training undertaken. The success of the framework in developing elite players’ progression can be evaluated using standardized physical, performance, and competency tests.

The author is with NSW Rugby Union, Locked Bag 1222, Paddington, NSW, 2021 Australia.

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