Tucker: “You can’t flick a switch and solve player welfare problems”

By International Rugby Players

Our guest on Episode 9 of the Players Podcast is one of the foremost sports scientists and researchers in Rugby and a man with a lot of views on the mechanics and politics of our game. 

Dr.Ross Tucker is a sports scientist and researcher, currently working alongside World Rugby on how to reduce concussions, head impacts and the possibility of reducing the tackle height. 

In a fascinating chat, Ross discusses his work, the various issues around doping and WADA, concussion and head injuries, player training load and much more. Listen here: 


One of the main messages from Tucker was that player welfare problems won’t be solved overnight. 

“We’re trying to change the culture around training and load, we’re trying to change the culture around the intensity of contact, around head injuries and head impacts and concussions.  And that’s going to take two or three generations. We have to buckle-up for the long haul because you can’t flick a switch and solve the problems.”

The Cape Town based researcher also argued that many of the problems with injuries around player load come from coaching philosophies that need to be updated.

“Every single professional rugby tournament in the world in the last 5 years has gotten faster.  Ball in play time is about 10% higher than it was 5 years ago. The number of passes, tackles, rucks, kicks…everything is up.

“The fallout is that, what that player does from Monday to Friday of the following week, needs to potentially change. There’s a growing perception that the change hasn’t been achieved, and so players are being conditioned during the week as though they’re in 2007…and at the weekend, they’re playing 2019 Rugby!

“That’s why the emphasis is so firmly on managing load.” 

A reminder that you can check out more about Ross Tucker’s work here or @ScienceofSport on Twitter. Listen here or check out all our Podcasts on Soundcloud or iTunes




International Rugby Players

/ Contributor

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