Bernard Jackman: Rugby players shoulder a lot -- even in retirement
Former Irish international Bernard Jackman on the massive readjustment that faces retiring athletes in the wake of news that Brian O'Driscoll is to have a shoulder operation
INJURY has always been part and parcel of rugby but it seems that the increase in the players' size, speed, power and technique over the last couple of seasons has resulted in more serious injuries and, for some players, premature retirement from the professional game.
Former South African World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar was quoted at the recent World Cup as follows: "Rugby's not a contact sport anymore. Dancing is a contact sport. Rugby is a collision sport."
It has become a game where being an athlete is vital. The focus in the gym has changed massively -- from being strong to being able to maximise your power output on the field of play.