Benefits for Athletes

Besides being a lot of fun, playing rugby can be beneficial to multi-sport athletes in many ways. There are many aspects to the game that are transferable to other sports.

Football

  • Teamwork and on-field communication and decision-making is essential to success
  • Play is continuous, encouraging fitness and endurance
  • Rugby is played in the spring, so players are fit and ready for summer football workouts
  • Learn and practice safe and effective tackling technique
    • Rugby players average 4x as many tackles in a match as football players, so there are many more opportunities to develop instinctive tackling and significant incentive to tackle safely and effectively
    • Rugby rules require safer tackling
      • Tackles must be below the shoulders
      • Players must wrap with both arms when tackling
        • Pete Carroll adopted rugby-style tackling with the Seattle Seahawks, and even produced an instructional video
        • USA Football and USA Rugby are working together on sharing best practices, and USA Football is adopting rugby-style tackling to reduce concussions
      • No pads means contact with less force
      • No helmets means proper head placement and reliance on shoulder contact
  • Improve evasive running and agility -- there is no blocking in rugby, so runners must either run around tacklers or pass the ball
  • Play does not stop after a tackle, so players learn to get back to their feet quickly
  • Forward passes are prohibited, so so the ball is advanced by running and making lateral passing, developing skills helpful in running option plays in football
  • Punting and kicking from a tee are integral to the game of rugby, helping kickers develop those skills
  • The culture of rugby emphasizes respect for self and others

Soccer

  • Teamwork and on-field communication and decision-making is essential to success
  • Play is continuous, encouraging fitness and endurance
  • Rugby is played in the spring, so players are fit and ready for summer soccer workouts
  • Improve evasive running and agility -- there is no blocking in rugby, so runners must either run around tacklers or pass the ball
  • Play does not stop after a tackle, so players learn to get back to their feet quickly
  • Punting on the run is helpful to gain field position, and kicking is the only way to advance the ball other than running
  • The culture of rugby emphasizes respect for self and others

Basketball

  • Teamwork and on-field communication and decision-making is essential to success
  • Play is continuous, encouraging fitness and endurance
  • Passing and catching on the run are a significant part of the offense in rugby
  • Improve evasive running and agility -- there is no blocking in rugby, so runners must either run around tacklers or pass the ball
  • Line-outs are similar to basketball in-bounds plays requiring timing and execution
  • Play does not stop after a tackle, so players learn to get back to their feet quickly
  • The culture of rugby emphasizes respect for self and others

Wrestling

  • Play is continuous, encouraging fitness and endurance
  • Contesting for the ball after a tackle (rucking) relies on developing upper body strength and leg strength
  • Engaging in scrums and mauls relies on developing back and leg strength
  • Play does not stop after a tackle, so players learn to get back to their feet quickly
  • Tackling and being tackled require players to learn to fall safely without thinking while engaging in contact
  • The culture of rugby emphasizes respect for self and others

Track and Cross Country

  • Play is continuous, encouraging fitness and endurance
  • Players will run as much as 6 miles in a match
  • The culture of rugby emphasizes respect for self and others