Training Mindset: Rugby?

At the risk of upsetting staunch American Football fans out there, I want to put this thought piece up about Rugby. I played Rugby at School and University and absolutely loved it. The game was just so amazing, I used to look forward to it with visceral excitement. It was a sort of controlled fight allied with sporting skill.

I have been remiss as a Rugby fan in the intervening years. The last World Cup match I watched (on TV) was while in Dubai in 2003 prior to going into Iraq. That was an epic game where England defeated Australia to win the final. Fast forward to this weekend, where on pay per view I watched Australia defeat England, and it wasn’t even the final!

Since I played Rugby they have amended some of the rules and cleaned up the play. You don’t see mass struggling mauls of forwards fighting for the ball. That was always the best bit! It is however a great game.

What I see in Rugby is an excellent sport that translates across in mindset to SUT. I see Rugby as a flow, a constant  movement interrupted only briefly by setting up for scrums, kicks and line-outs. The forwards are always moving to support each other, but everyone has to run, and the backs are always setting and resetting the line. However possession is gained, the idea is to pass it out along the line and try to outflank the opposition to score a try over their try line.

You always have mutual support, you always have someone in you back pocket, you have to depend on it.

Forwards = support by fire, backs = maneuver….

You cannot throw the ball forward, you have to pass back and run it forwards. If the ball is kicked forwards, you are offside unless you were behind the kicker, or he gets ahead of you by sprinting forwards.

It is a game of constant flow and immediate tactical decisions, of mutual support while under physical and mental pressure, of getting the ball out and taking one for the team. There are no Cheerleaders in Rugby, the game is too much of a flow, and the game itself is so interesting no-one has time to look  at them! The coach is not involved in any calls. It is only the players on the field.

Do with this opinion as you wish. I have never been able to interest myself in American Football. I think if it had any influence on an SUT mindset, it would make it slow and over reliant on set-piece plays….

Here is an idea of the game of Rugby:

Here are highlights of the 2003 England vs Australia Final:

Here are highlights of this weekend’s match: