How to Become a Professional Rugby Player

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Professional rugby players are talented athletes who pursue rugby as a full-time job. They play for national teams and local or foreign sports clubs. If you are physically fit and self-disciplined, and have the talent to play rugby, keep reading to learn how to go professional.

Job requirements

As a professional rugby player, your life would revolve around the pitch and at the gym. You would practice up to five days a week and play during evenings and weekends. Other typical obligations include;

  • Attending training sessions under the supervision of a coach and fitness trainer
  • Representing your club or national team in international and local competitions
  • Following a specific diet plan and lifestyle to keep fit and healthy
  • Conducting media interviews on behalf of the team.

If you are appointed a team captain, you will be able to;

  • Notify players about new team rules
  • Recording players’ information on game sheets
  • Representing the team in management meetings
  • Psyching up teammates before and during games.

Work environment

Professional rugby players spend a lot of their time training indoors or out on the pitch, regardless of the weather. They mostly spend their evenings and weekends playing games.

Athletes, including rugby players, travel a lot to participate in tournaments like the world cup and HSBC Sevens World Series. As such, they may spend long periods of time away from their families.  

Wild and dangerous tackles define the rugby sport. Aspiring players should be prepared for intense contact with teammates and opponents, which can result in injuries.


The following table highlights the average salaries for rugby players at the academy and premiership levels;


Average pay

Academy player


Premiership player


Source: Input Youth UK

It is crucial to note that some professional rugby players may earn much more from advertising contracts.

Entry requirements

You don’t need any academic qualifications to become a rugby player. Your talent, abilities and skills will get you started.

Most rugby players start by playing for their schools before joining talent schemes or rugby academies, which are owned by rugby clubs. Eventually, they graduate and secure contracts with the clubs. At this point, they are professional rugby players.

It is preferable to start playing at a young age. As soon you realize rugby is your favorite sport, join your school’s team. This allows you to learn the rules and develop your skills as you grow older.

Although experience is not crucial to becoming a professional rugby player, it could play an important role in being selected to play in the national team.

Important skills and abilities

To become a competent professional rugby player, you should have the following skills and abilities;

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Commitment and dedication
  • A good level of physical fitness and stamina to adapt to the rough nature of the game
  • Willingness to take advice from trainers and coaches
  • The ability to work as part of a team without being self-centered
  • Self-discipline to follow all game and team rules. 

Training and development

You will have to keep on training to keep fit and improve your playing skills. You could specialize in a particular position. If you are good at sprinting, for example, you could be a specialist winger.

If you wish to prove your practical sporting ability, you can pursue the NVQ Level 3 in Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance qualification. The course covers topics such as;

  • Teamwork
  • Health and safety
  • Careers and employment
  • Self-management

Job opportunities

You would normally work for a rugby club or the government as a national team player. Your career will probably retire when you hit between 35 and 40 years, after which you can pursue further qualifications to become a coach, trainer of referee.

Useful links

How about being paid to express your talents and abilities? That’s exactly what you will get when you become a professional rugby player.

Good luck!