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Periodisation in Rugby


The November Internationals between teams from the Southern and Northern Hemispheres have indicated that the Southern Hemisphere teams remain strong favourites for the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Some had expressed the view that the fact that the World Cup is being played in England would offer an advantage to the Northern Hemisphere teams who would be more used to the conditions. However, the recent run of results suggests that this will not necessarily be any significant advantage.

It remains to be seen whether coaches can manage the crucial task of bringing their squads to a peak by September 2015. No easy task when you consider the players need to be battle hardened and match fit and yet free from injury!

The process of managing a squad of players to periods of peak performance (for a cup competition or league finals, etc.) is called ‘periodisation’.

Periodisation is the planned organisation of training, practice, competition and rest and recovery into blocks or periods throughout a given period of time. The organisation, placement and content of the training blocks are governed by the phase of the season (off-pre-in) and its competition structure (games/competition schedule).

Crucially, where periodisation is applied, the model should take into account the demands of the game and the accumulation of the number of games over the competitive or in-season with the needs of the player in terms of their specific strengths and deficits and their ability to recover and perform. 

This means that variation of training, practice, rest and recovery are all key elements of the process of periodisation.

In addition, an appropriate periodisation model has clear goals, which are stated and worked towards during each phase.

Sometimes the phases of the periodised model are called ‘blocks’, ‘periods or ‘cycles’. The terms ‘phase’ and ‘cycle’ are built into the lexicon of the language of Periodisation and so we will use them as the preferred terms.

For more on this subject, please click here.


IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2014 schedule unveiled

The pools and schedule for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2014 have been announced. The future stars of world Rugby from Canada, Georgia, Hong Kong, Japan, Namibia, Tonga, United States and Uruguay, will come together in Hong Kong from April 7-19 2014 for the event, the first time it has been staged in Asia. 

North American teams USA and Canada are the top seeds in the tournament and head Pools A and B, respectively. Fourth seeds Tonga, fifth seeds Georgia and hosts Hong Kong (eighth seeds) round out Pool A while Pool B sees third seeds Japan, sixth seeds Uruguay and seventh seeds Namibia join the Canadians. 

The seventh edition of the Under 20 tournament will see 16 matches played with the pool stages held on April 7, 11 and 15. The finals will be held on April 19, 2014.

Click here for more details.


IRB Coaching is always looking for ways to help and advise Rugby coaches around the world. A very useful website we have come across recently is

It is the website of former professional Rugby player, Gavin Hickie. Hickie is the Head Coach of Dartmouth College in the US and Assistant Coach to the USA All Americans.

"I created to primarily help players and coaches reach their Rugby potential. You can find player and coach interviews on the website, set piece tips and, of course, lineout throwing expertise. I offer advice on all things Rugby to help you improve your game.

"There are lots of exciting developments in the pipeline for 2014, including monthly sports nutrition advice, competitions, lineout throwing video guides plus lots more."

Please click on the link below to find out more:



Supporting Match Officials

As Rugby grows around the world, there is a need for more and more Match Officials (MO) to join the game. If you are interested in either becoming an MO or improving your knowledge of how to be an efficient MO, then the IRB has produced a website which has lots of information for you.

It is the IRB's Officiating website - the home of Rugby officiating on the web. Here you'll find a range of resources to support you in your officiating, from online learning about aspects of officiating to community forums and more.

Check out:

IRB Officiating


Concussion guidelines


The IRB takes Player Welfare seriously and played a central role in the development of the Zurich Consensus (2008) on Concussion in Sport on which these guidelines are based. The guidelines were designed to be used by physicians and other health professionals as well as team management, teachers, parents and players. The guidelines are meant to ensure that players who suffer concussion are managed effectively to protect their long-term health and welfare. Scientific knowledge in the field of concussion is constantly evolving and the consensus process will make sure that the IRB guidelines will keep pace with these changes.

What is concussion?

Concussion is a complex process caused by trauma that transmits force to the brain either directly or indirectly and results in temporary impairment of brain function. Its development and resolution are rapid and spontaneous. A player can sustain a concussion without losing consciousness. Concussion is associated with a graded set of clinical signs and symptoms that resolve sequentially. Concussion reflects a functional rather than structural injury and standard neuro-imaging is typically normal.


Summary principles

  1. Concussion must be taken extremely seriously to safeguard the long-term welfare of players.
  2. Players suspected of having concussion must be removed from play and must not resume 
play in the match.
  3. Players suspected of having concussion must be medically assessed.
  4. Players suspected of having concussion or diagnosed with concussion must go through a 
graduated return to play protocol (GRTP).
  5. Players must receive medical clearance before returning to play.

Concussion producing forces are common in Rugby; fortunately, most of these do not result in concussion. There is widespread variation in the initial effects of concussion.

Recovery is spontaneous often with rapid resolution of signs, symptoms and changes in cognition (minutes to days). This could increase the potential for players to ignore concussion symptoms at the time of injury or return to play prior to the full recovery from a diagnosed concussion. This may result in a more serious brain injury or a prolonged recovery period.

The potential for serious and prolonged injury emphasizes the need for comprehensive medical assessment and follow- up until the concussion has fully resolved. Returning to play before complete resolution of the concussion exposes the player to recurrent concussions that might take place with ever decreasing forces. There are concerns that repeat concussion could shorten a player’s career and may have some potential to result in permanent neurological impairment.

Players must be honest with themselves and medical staff for their own protection.







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