The key to recovery in rugby: Embracing Injury

Romain Ntamack, the fly-half for Les Bleus, has sounded an alarm about the heavy workload that professional rugby players are facing at the highest level. This issue has become increasingly prominent in recent years, especially when comparing the northern and southern hemispheres. Players in New Zealand and the northern hemisphere typically play over 30 professional games a year, not including finals and international test commitments, while Australian teams have faced criticism for lagging behind in terms of playing time.

Ntamack expressed his concern about the growing workload, noting that while the French Rugby Federation has an agreement in place to manage their Test stars, there seems to be a push to add more competitions and games to the calendar. He emphasized the need to listen to the players and work together to address this issue, stating, “We are not pieces of meat. We are sometimes tired and we still remain the main players in this game.”

The fly-half also discussed the impact of his severe ACL injury, which ruled him out of the 2023 World Cup. He acknowledged that, while unfortunate, the injury has allowed him to focus on recovery and regeneration. Ntamack is set to miss the 2024 Six Nations but is optimistic about returning to the field in late March or early April.

In other rugby news, Australian player Quade Cooper had a rough debut for the Hanazono Kintetsu Liners in Japan Rugby League One, receiving a yellow card in the 11th minute and struggling to make an impact as his team suffered a defeat to the Ricoh Black Rams Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Crusaders youngster Jamie Hannah praised veterans Sam Whitelock and Scott Barrett for their leadership and guidance, expressing gratitude for the knowledge and experience they bring to the team. Whitelock recently departed for a stint in the Top 14, while Barrett remains with the Crusaders.

Overall, Ntamack’s warning sheds light on the challenges that professional rugby players face, particularly with regard to managing workload and injuries. As the sport continues to evolve, it will be crucial for governing bodies and teams to prioritize the well-being and overall health of their players.