How to Be a Leader in Rugby: Nurturing Leadership in Rugby

In the world of sports, rugby stands out as a game where leadership is not just a trait of the captain but an essential quality that every player must possess. Leadership in rugby goes beyond just the physical aspect of the game; it encompasses the mental, emotional, and strategic aspects as well. This article aims to guide you on how to be a leader in rugby, emphasizing the importance of leadership in rugby.

The Essence of Leadership in Rugby

Leadership in rugby is not confined to the one wearing the captain's armband. It is about making decisions in split seconds, supporting your teammates, and leading by example. It's about the prop offering encouragement, the scrum-half making tactical decisions, or the full-back maintaining composure under pressure.

Key Traits of Rugby Leaders


Effective communication is crucial in rugby. A good leader communicates clearly and effectively, both on and off the pitch. They articulate strategies, motivate teammates, and provide constructive feedback.


In rugby, as in life, things don't always go as planned. A leader in rugby demonstrates resilience, motivating the team to push through the challenges, bounce back from setbacks, and stay focused on the end goal.

Tactical Awareness

A rugby leader needs to have a good understanding of the game, its rules, and tactics. They should be able to read the game, make strategic decisions, and adapt to changing situations on the field.

Developing Leadership in Rugby

Surround Yourself with the Right People

In rugby and in life, the company you keep can significantly influence your attitudes, behaviours, and achievements. This concept was mentioned in our Rugby Bricks Podcast Episode 19, where we discussed that "you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

In the context of rugby leadership, this means surrounding yourself with individuals who inspire you to push your boundaries, challenge your thinking, and motivate you to strive for excellence. These could be your teammates, coaches, mentors, or even figures from other fields who embody the leadership qualities you aspire to.

Being around the right people can help you grow not just as a player, but also as a leader. They can provide you with diverse perspectives, constructive criticism, and valuable insights, all of which are crucial for your leadership journey in rugby.

Learn from the Best

Another essential aspect of developing leadership in rugby is learning from those who have successfully navigated this path. Listening to podcasts, reading articles, and watching interviews of established rugby leaders can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

For instance, our Rugby Bricks podcasts feature in-depth conversations with some of the most respected figures in rugby. They share their personal experiences, insights, and tips, providing listeners with a unique look into what it takes to be a leader in the demanding world of rugby.

This process of learning from the best also involves critical analysis. As you absorb this information, question it, dissect it, and relate it to your own experiences. This will help you not only understand the information better but also apply it effectively in your own leadership journey.

Practice Makes Perfect

Leadership, like any other skill, requires practice. It's not something that you can perfect overnight. It involves a continuous process of learning, unlearning, and relearning.

Take on leadership roles whenever possible, be it in training sessions, games, or even outside the rugby field. These experiences will provide you with practical insights into managing people, making decisions under pressure, and dealing with failures.

Remember, mistakes are an integral part of this journey. Each error is a learning opportunity, providing you with valuable lessons that can help you improve. As a leader, it's crucial to embrace these mistakes, learn from them, and use them as stepping stones towards becoming a better leader.


Leadership in rugby is about more than just leading your team to victory. It's about fostering a positive team culture, showing resilience in the face of adversity, and continuously striving for improvement. By developing these qualities, you can not only become a leader in rugby but also inspire those around you to reach their full potential.


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Peter Breen