Rugby

Donncha O'Callaghan Has Real 'Concerns' About The Future Of Rugby

Donncha O'Callaghan Has Real 'Concerns' About The Future Of Rugby

Donncha O'Callaghan believes that physicality in rugby has gone 'through the roof'. It has reached the point in the former Munster player's career where he now steps off the pitch and he's glad to still be in one piece.

O'Callaghan, now 38, is in his third season with Aviva Premiership side Worcester Warriors.

Speaking on Newstalk's Off The Ball on Wednesday night, O'Callaghan said that he has noticed a change in the Premiership this season. The league is currently going through an injury crisis.

Maybe it's me being older within the game that I think maybe I'm getting old, so this hurts more but I'll be honest with you, guys are really conditioned now, they're so much bigger. Guys are so much bigger. My team-mates, we've 147kg props with really low body fat. They're just massive, massive men.

This week, we put out 23 guys against Brive and 17 of them had to report to injury clinic on Sunday and weren't fit to train on Monday morning. Out of our 23 guys, 17 of them needed some form of treatment or were nursing an injury after a game.

O'Callaghan added that teams can't moan too much about the situation - their opponents are also in the same boat.

It's not just games where O'Callaghan believes injuries occur, it's also in training. He thinks something must be done to lighten the training load.

Advertisement

The players' union needs to step up and control the contact at training. We can all live with an injury in games, I just think the contact level at training is really high, really severe in tight drills that maybe you could have done for a few minutes a few years ago and got away with it when guys were smaller but when you've big strong men now, it's getting very, very hard.

It's a concern, it really is and I'll be honest, it's gone to the point where nearly every game you come off and you're OK, you're thankful.

O'Callaghan feels that the sport must step away from the physical game which is now so prevalent and move towards one which is more skills orientated. However, if the proliferation of the more physical game cannot be stopped, he feels fewer games and training sessions are required.

I think guys can play games, they can live with that. You wouldn't believe the contact level in training now. You chat with the other guys in the Premiership, physicality in training is probably where you pick up most of your bangs and knocks. It's probably two concussions a week and I know concussion is a hard on to talk about. It's also other fractures and breaks due to training. That's something that the players' union needs to step up and be better at in the Premiership: look at the training loads.

Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

See Also: "It's A Disgrace If They Don't Invest" - How A Part-Time Coach Could Leave Irish Rugby Behind

PJ Browne
Article written by

You may also like