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Rugby - health benefits

Summary

Rugby is a popular team sport that involves heavy contact and requires strength, stamina and fitness. Rugby involves pushing, tackling, throwing and kicking. Children and younger players are introduced to rugby gradually through modified and non-contact versions of the sport.

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Rugby is a popular sport that requires strength, endurance and fitness. In Australia, both Rugby League and Rugby Union codes are played. Rugby is very much a contact sport and involves two teams whose players push, tackle, throw, kick and run to get the ball behind the opposition’s try line. Points can also be scored by kicking the ball through the goal posts for a conversion, penalty kick or drop goal.

Suitable for all ages and abilities


Rugby can be played both socially and competitively. People of all ages and abilities can get involved in rugby through clinics and modified rules games.
Although rugby is a contact sport, the practice of tackling is usually only introduced to appropriate age groups. Children and younger players are introduced to rugby gradually, through more modified and non-contact versions of the sport.

While playing rugby generally requires strength and agility, particular positions require specific additional skills such as jumping and precision kicking.

Health benefits


Rugby involves sprinting, tackling, pushing and kicking. Health benefits include:
  • Cardiovascular fitness and endurance
  • Strength in upper and lower body
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Ball-handling and kicking skills.

Other benefits


Rugby also brings other benefits, such as:
  • Team skills
  • Social interaction
  • Communication skills
  • Self-discipline.

Getting started


You can play at a local club or find a clinic for beginners. No matter what shape, size or age you are, you’ll find a level of rugby that’s right for you.

Rugby is quite complex and requires you to learn many individual and team skills. The Australian Rugby Union believes that younger Rugby Union players should be introduced to the game through its Junior Player Pathway Program, which is designed to introduce kids to the skills and tactical concepts of rugby in a safe and fun manner.

Avoiding injury


As tackling is the main defensive tactic, rugby players can be prone to injuries, including:
  • Shoulder joint sprains
  • Hamstring strains
  • Knee ligament injuries
  • Ankle sprains.
You can reduce your risk of injury when playing rugby by:
  • Warming up and cooling down
  • Using protective equipment
  • Developing your skills
  • Using correct technique, particularly during contact with other players
  • Enforcing and abiding by game rules.

Fair play


Playing fairly in rugby is not only important to help prevent injuries, but also to ensure you and your team mates enjoy the game. You can help increase fair play in rugby by:
Not putting up with foul play, such as dangerous tackles
Being respectful to your team mates, the opposition and the referees.

Where to get help

Things to remember

  • In Australia, the codes of Rugby League and Rugby Union are played.
  • Rugby is very much a contact sport and involves two teams whose players push, tackle, throw, kick and run to get the ball behind the goal posts.
  • There are many health benefits you can gain from playing rugby.
  • You can play at a local club or find a clinic for beginners.

You might also be interested in:

Want to know more?

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:

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Fact sheet currently being reviewed.
Last reviewed: June 2011

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.


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Rugby is a popular team sport that involves heavy contact and requires strength, stamina and fitness. Rugby involves pushing, tackling, throwing and kicking. Children and younger players are introduced to rugby gradually through modified and non-contact versions of the sport.



Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your qualified health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residence and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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