n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Under-13 rugby : what are the issues? a panel discussion : commentary

Volume 27, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



There are many questions about youth rugby for which there are no immediate answers. At what age should the young players specialise? How often should they practise? How many matches should they play in season? Science has lagged behind in providing clear answers, and in many cases decisions about the development of the game at this level have to be made based on logic and intuition. As a result, opinions may differ and controversy may prevail. Recently a panel of experts representing different aspects of youth rugby was asked a series of questions about this sport, the aim being to examine the answers given from different perspectives. The overall goal was to identify where agreement does or does not exist.To make this exercise worthwhile, it was important to have respected panellists with expertise in different areas. The following panellists were invited to participate : Justin Durandt, Manager of the Discovery High Performance Centre, Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SA), currently studying towards his PhD on talent identification in youth rugby players; Dr Sharief Hendricks, a postdoctoral fellow internationally renowned for his research on the tackle in rugby; Dr Mike Marshall, a medical doctor with expertise in rugby medicine and youth rugby; Andries Roux, a rugby coach and teacher working with primary school children; and Dr Eugene Hare, an expert in youth rugby and physical development, and current CEO of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union in SA. The questions posed to each panellist and their individual responses follow.

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