Rugby And Why You Should Improve Your Explosive Strength by Kerstin Frey

Unlike other forms of football, rugby can be usefully viewed as a succession of prolonged physical engagements, either between individual players or between groups of players. Each of these engagements demands the exercise of substantial physical strength. While basic strength training should form the foundation for such engagements, there should also be a focus on developing explosive strength appropriate to the particular activity.

During the extended periods when players are physically contesting with their opposing counterparts they are continually subjected to loading substantially greater than their own body weight. And, because that added resistance is live, there is often the problem of overcoming not only inertia but also counter force triggered by an initiating movement

In modern rugby considerable attention is given to fitness and aerobic conditioning as well as basic weight training, but there is very limited focus on the development of activity-specific explosive strength. This is despite the fact that an ability to very rapidly generate force can yield a competitive advantage in each of the areas of physical engagement in rugby:

Scrum and maul
In the scrum or maul situation it is very difficult to shunt the opposing pack backward unless there is synchronised explosive activity. If a pack begins to move forward slowly or if just one or a couple of players attempt to initiate a shove, they are unlikely to be able to overcome the inertia of the opposing pack's body mass. In addition, the attempted drive forward will almost certainly trigger an almost immediate counter-shove. On the other hand if a pack suddenly and explosively begins to drive forward as a synchronised, coordinated unit, they are likely to be able to generate momentum and place their opponents on the back foot.

The key elements are that each of the forwards possess basic strength and a capacity to rapidly generate force. However, it is essential that their movements be synchronized. If any of these elements of strength, explosiveness and synchronicity are lacking the attempt is likely to prove futile or even counterproductive.

In a tackle situation there is great advantage in forcing the opponent, whether ball-carrier or tackler, back from the line of engagement. In order to do this effectively, the action has to be both powerful and virtually instantaneous.

In addition, ball-carriers with explosive leg drive are often able to brush past attempted tackles, while tacklers with similar attributes can forcefully secure the ball-carrier and take him to ground.

At the breakdown of play following a tackle the ability to push back or "clean out" opposing players from the ruck offers opportunities to win the contest for the ball or at least put the opposing team in a disadvantageous situation. The only effective way to win the breakdown contest is to apply very considerable force in an explosive manner.

The outcome of the lineout contest is largely dependent on how high the jumper can ascend, but also on how rapidly he can reach that point. This requires not only a very good vertical leap by the jumper, but also the ability of his support players to forcefully elevate him. Both jumping and lifting require specific forms of explosive strength.

When forward packs are evenly matched in strength and technique, and defensive techniques are well-coordinated, a game of rugby can often become a war of attrition, with teams attempting to wear one another down over the course of the game. It is very difficult to maintain concentration and alertness throughout an 80-minute game, and a capacity for explosive action allows the exploitation of fatigue and inattention. It provides surprise and unpredictability, while limiting the possibility of appropriate reaction.

Strength training for rugby should always be grounded on a solid foundation of basic strength; but coaches who are seeking to gain a sustainable competitive edge would do well to incorporate a comprehensive program of activity-specific training for explosive strength.

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What Is The History Of The Rugby World Cup?

By Adriana Noton

Rugby is a sport that is enjoyed all over the world, throughout the countries of the British Commonwealth in particular. It is a gruelling sport that involves 15 players on each side and is particularly fanatically supported in countries such as New Zealand and Wales where they see it as their main national sport. Due to the popularity of the sport, every four years there is a Rugby World Cup where all of the best teams in the world come to test themselves against each other in pursuit of the grandest prize of all.

The first of these tournaments was held in Australia and New Zealand in 1987. The inaugural tournament was won by the dominant team New Zealand in a final against France where the margin of victory was 29 points to 9.

Four years later the Rugby world cup came to Europe and was hosted by Great Britain throughout different stadiums in England, Ireland, and also France across the pond. For this tournament, a qualifying tournament was used to decide the final lineup of the 32 teams that were to compete. Four years ago it had been an invite only tournament, but now some of the lesser-known countries had to go through qualifying periods in order to make sure they got into the tournament.

On this occasion in 1991, the cup was won by Australia, keeping the heritage of rugby are firmly set down in the southern hemisphere. The hosts England were beaten at home by 12 points to 6 at the home of rugby at Twickenham.

Another four years went by, the World Cup came to South Africa and it was to be the first time that all of the matches in the World Cup were held in one single country. It was also the first time that South Africa were to be competing at themselves of the tournament due to the end of the boycott that was held during the apartheid era.

Fittingly, South Africa ended up winning the tournament in a world famous sporting moment, defeating the previous winners New Zealand in the final by 15 points to 12. It was a wonderful moment for the country, with the captain Francois Pienaar lifting the Webb Ellis trophy above his head the roars of tens of thousands of fanatical supporters.

In 1999 the World Cup was hosted primarily by Wales at matches were also played throughout the countries of the five Nations. At this World Cup one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game took place as one of the home European Nations France defeated the all Blacks by a relatively heavy margin in the final. However they were to be overturned by Australia in the final by 35 points to 12 in a fairly one-sided affair.

As such had become the first side to win the World Cup twice, but by 2003 the World Cup would finally make an appearance in the winners circle on European shores. Australia once again battled their way to the final against the odds by beating New Zealand in the semis. However, they came up against an England team that had dominated world rugby for a couple of years and were defeated by the trusty boot of Jonny Wilkinson in the most famous final that has ever been played.

Most recently, the World Cup has been played in 2007 and was hosted by France. South Africa became only the second team to win the trophy for a second time as they overturned the current champions and relatively unfancied England in the final. In 2011 the competition will be played in New Zealand. Were the best team in the world be able to complete a famous victory on this occasion? - 31829

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Welsh Rugby Shame Over Golf Buggy Drink Driving Fiasco

By Tom Doerr

Welsh international Rugby player Andy Powell has been arrested by South Wales police after being caught drink driving a Golf Buggy taken from the team hotel in which he was staying. The player was charged for "driving a mechanically propelled vehicle whilst unfit through drink" under the road traffic act 1988.

Powell, 28, was taken into custody before 6am at a motorway service station three miles from the club's national hotel in the Vale of Glamorgan. The back-row forward had reportedly taken the 15mph vehicle after an all night drinking binge with his teammates and driven it down the hard shoulder of the motorway in order to find food as the hotel was not serving breakfast until 7am.

A Welsh Rugby Union statement read "Powell has been suspended from the squad for behaviour contrary to the squad's code of conduct".

It is not uncommon for athletes to avoid prosecution especially for driving offences but the circumstances of Powell's arrest make for a very grey are;. There is no clear definition of a 'mechanically propelled vehicle' and there is no strict legal alcohol limit for operating any of them.

Nick Freeman, commonly known as 'Mr Loophole' commented that "this could lead to an anomaly where someone is driving a mechanically propelled vehicle, which is not a motor vehicle, whilst over the prescribed limit".

Although Powell is due in court on March 2nd, it is unclear whether the prosecution will stick with such vague legal boundaries and it could be argued that he broke no law with his driving licence.

If Powell can avoid prosecution for drink driving he may still face charges for theft as he did not own the golf buggy and there is no confirmation that he took it with any permission of the hotel. If the Hotel did have a part to play the fiasco could turn into a whole other ball game. - 31829

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