The body will adapt to the specific demands placed upon it. Training for a sport involves adaptations that are specific to the movement patterns, muscles used, forces produced and energy demand of the training (Bompa and Haff 2009). Therefore, it stands to reason that for training to carry over into rugby performance it has to be specific in nature (Foran 2001). Understanding the demands of the game will allow the coach to select and devise conditioning drills and activities that prepare the players to meet the specific challenges of the game.

The key point of this principle is that the player’s training should be guided both by the demands of the game and their playing position. The coach must be careful however, not to make training overly specific. All players need general movement skills, strength, and conditioning through a range of training methods to enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury. A common practice is to make physical training and conditioning more general in early pre-season and as the season start gets closer then to include more position-specific work.