In recent times the overall fitness of players has improved dramatically. Rugby has really made great strides in terms of fitness and nutrition, especially with the money now being available to invest in to research and technology to maximize a player's fitness.
To be able to play rugby at the very top level, which means representing your country, there are a number of physical components you must possess. Muscular endurance is vital as a player, not only if you are going to last the full 80 minutes of a match but also to be able to put in the sprinting bursts required during the course of the match. Muscular fatigue will lead to tiredness, falling behind with the play and making costly mistakes for your team.
Strength and power are also key to the fitness of a top rugby player. Being a very physical game, players must be able to withstand heavy collisions with opposing players and have the strength and power not only to make tackles but also to break out of them. This leads on to the next physical requirement of a fit rugby player and that's speed and agility. It is no longer good enough to simply be a big man to play rugby at the top level, the very best forwards have now got speed and agility, with flankers especially combining this with strength and power.
These elements, together with excellent movement and ball skills, complete the fitness requirements for a rugby player. Having one without the other is not an option to be able to succeed at the highest level and as with most sports, tiredness leads to mistakes.
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