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World Rugby suggest a 15-minute per week limit on full contact training

World Rugby contact training

World Rugby have released new guidelines which calls for a limit on the amount of contact training in sessions on a weekly basis.

The new guidelines, which have been released in conjunction with International Rugby Players, aims to limit full contact training to 15 minutes per week, controlled contact to 40 minutes and live set piece to 30 minutes.

Full contact refers to tackling with no body shields or tackle bags done at full intensity, while controlled contact includes the likes of tackle bags and a lower level of intensity.

The guidelines have been created as a result of feedback from almost 600 players across 18 elite competitions, as well as input from strength and conditioning and medical experts.

Guidelines aim to reduce the number of injuries.

While their is a far lower incidence rate of injury in training sessions than there are in matches, the higher frequency of training means that 35 to 40 per cent of all injuries occur outside of matches.

The current average number of minutes of full contact training are perhaps lower than many would have expected, as a global study found that teams train at full contact intensity for 21 minutes a week on average, with an average total contact load of 118 minutes.

A number of high-level clubs, such as Leinster, Clermont Auvergne and Benetton, have agreed to “assess the mechanism, incidence and intensity of head impact events” using mouthguard technology and video analysis.

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster was involved in reviewing the study and stressed the importance of making the game “as safe as possible” and to not “overdo contact load across the week”.

World Rugby’s Joe Schmidt on reducing contact training.

World Rugby Director of Rugby and High Performance and former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who announced recently that he will be leaving his role at the end of the year, explained how the guidelines can be applied at all levels of the sport.

“Training has increasingly played an important role in injury-prevention as well as performance. While there is a lot less full contact training than many people might imagine, it is our hope that having a central set of guidelines will further inform players and coaches of key considerations for any contact that is done during training,” Schmidt said.

“These new guidelines, developed by leading experts and supported by the game, are by necessity a work in progress and will be monitored and further researched to understand the positive impact on player welfare. We are encouraged by the response that we have received so far.

“We recognise that community level rugby can be an almost entirely different sport in terms of fitness levels, resources and how players can be expected to train, but the guidelines can be applied at many levels, especially the planning, purpose and monitoring of any contact in training.”

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