Training is an essential part of any sport. Rugby players are constantly training to improve themselves individually and as team players. Team-driven sports require a higher level of attention to team training with athletes needing to train together on a regular basis. These training sessions are regularly scheduled during both the playing season and the offseason, and these sessions range in intensity and frequency.
When I played for a casual military rugby team with the army, weekly or biweekly training sessions were common during the offseason, though the sessions were less intense during the offseason and, instead, more focused towards developing new drills and strategies. Outside of the training sessions, each individual rugby player was expected to maintain his or her strength and cardiovascular stamina by training at the gym or going for a run. However, as a match or competition drew closer, the intensity and frequency of these training sessions increased. The sessions began to focus more on refining recently-learnt drills and strategies. They were also held more frequently—at least three times a week—so that we had more chances to train with the team. We were also encouraged to do less strength training and focus more on developing our team skills. This was to ensure that the risk of injury was reduced and that there was enough time for us to recover between training sessions. The training schedule was structured so that each of us was able to participate in the training because it was a casual rugby team and we had regular jobs to do throughout the week.
Professional rugby teams have their own training schedules tailored to their specific requirements. In some cases, training sessions may be used to determine who is playing in an upcoming game of rugby. During the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in Japan, the Japanese national rugby team conducted its own tailored rugby training, and as the RWC drew close the team’s sense of urgency increased. Within a month of the RWC, the training in the Japanese camp ramped up. With many players vying to play in the RWC, the camp was also used to select the 31 players to play in the 2019 RWC tournament. For the players, training sessions also became a competition where the prize was a position in Japan’s RWC team. There were 41 rugby players competing for 2019 RWC selection. They played for different teams across Japan such as the national team, the Brave Blossoms, Toshiba’s Brave Lupus and Suntory’s Goliath, and they trained eagerly in order to be selected for the momentous occasion of representing Japan in the 2019 RWC.
In the case of a casual rugby team—such as the one I played for in the military—training was structured to suit the needs of the players and was adjusted so that everyone could participate. However, professional rugby teams do use training sessions as part of the selection process for upcoming championships or series.
Source: Asahi Shimbun Japan training camp opens 1 month ahead of World Cup start
ramped up 立ち上がった