What quality is the most important one when it comes to being a rugby player? A lot of people would immediately think in physical strength or that being as bulky as a bulldozer would be the best fitness condition to practice the sport. And yeah, of course being a human mountain will have a lot of advantages for any rugbier, but brute force isn’t really the most important quality a rugby player should aim to have.
Truth be told, when people start playing rugby, they want to get strong and bulky as quickly as possible, but after a few years of practice, playing matches and getting hit by these trains dressed as players, the most important quality a rugby player should have becomes clear: The ability to withstand pain. There are several “types” of players, from huge guys that seems to be bred to play this sport, thin guys that look like they’re going to be shredded to pieces on their first tackle, quick, fast players, slow ones, strong, tall, you know, they come in many colors and shapes.
However, the ones that get left behind on the road to being a real rugby player are those who weren’t able to stand the blow, roll with the punches, those who skipped training sessions due to their pain (mostly because of tackles and injuries).
Some great players, trained and raised by William Webb Ellis himself stepped out of the field because “it hurts”. Why you may ask? They trained their strength, dexterity, their stamina, their speed, and flexibility, but put little effort into increasing their pain threshold, their ability to suffer. In life, like in rugby, hits come and go. Rocky Balboa said that nothing hit as hard as life, but despite how strong you get hit, you have to move forward, as much as you can endure, that’s what winners do! This is the greatest truth.
Every single weekend you’re going to get hurt, Mondays will be a painful day in your week, your coworkers will ask you to drop rugby, but they don’t understand what’s like being there. Tuesday will come and training with it, new tackles will add up to the last ones, you’ll fall into the ground and you’ll get up, and again, and again, this cycle of falling down, getting up, fighting, struggling and moving forward will repeat itself over and over.
As much as we praise all of rugby’s values, because of the love of rugbiers feel for this sport, we know this is the best sport there is, we talk of its values, the discipline we put into the sport, and everything else, we need to realize that every rugby player will, by either his own doing, or other player’s, receive a large number of hits, and even if a rugby player thinks he is Superman, or a very tough, macho-like kind of guy, they can’t lie, the day after a match, it hurts like hell.
And this is what a rugby player has to learn, develop and master, how to endure the pain, how to get up from the mud, clear their heads and keep on moving forward, regardless of the pain, the tiredness and frustration, pushing forward to achieve victory.