Hi, I am a former high performance rugby player who has noticed a steady decline in performance after being injured. In short I want to be back @ the top of my game and my training needs a kick in the ass.  I am a tight five player but like to play an expansive style, is there a CFFB workout I should gear myself towards? Or should I just use the CFFB to become a better power athlete?

Thank you for any help or info you can provide or point me in the direction of.

Huw Phillips


* TTMJ got a great response when Daz guest posted about Rugby training, I have asked him to come back and answer another question. I like hearing from those in the know and Daz is on the ground using it daily. You can find him at CrossFit Newcastle and his site, Give’m Cold Steel.


Following the entire CFFB program is a great start; don’t focus on just a particular workout. Training for workout(s) makes you a specialist at that workout(s); we are training for the Game.

A second-rower or lock, that wants to play “expansive” is basically a blind-side flanker or back row. Although, if I was your coach and selected you for second row, I want you to play like a second row, i.e., do the hard work tight first.

So, we’ve discussed before the relevance of CFFB making strong, powerful, fast players on a foundation of aerobic capacity.  What would we do different in your program? Very little.  However, I would dedicate Tuesdays & Thursdays to speed work, in addition to the CFFB workouts; speed in the morning with weights and metcon in the afternoon. We have seen a trend in in-experienced coaches reading GPS data on distances travelled by players during a game. “No 6. covered 14kms, at an average of %#km [speed], so that means we need to train some LSD [long slow distance] runs at 14km plus”.



What you need is speed, and the ability/capacity to keep producing it over and over again.

How often do you see someone jogging to the breakdown, or coasting through a gap? Never. Not if they want to keep playing and avoid a beating by their teammates after the game.

The players that dominate and contribute are the ones that display a combative style, are first to the tackle, first to the breakdown and first to counter attack. In the end it is all about speed. John told us at the seminar in Newcastle, “Speed kills.”. This is true in Rugby as well as the NFL.

Super Rugby Rd 2 - Waratahs v Reds

If you bring speed to your game, without losing size, you’ll provide your team with a new weapon, virtually a fourth back-rower.  In Australia, we have seen a couple of Super Rugby sides pick a smaller second rower, in hopes of providing speed across the park, and powerful back-rowers to dominate in defense, which so far has been awesome watching; damaging defenses resulting in injuries to the opposition. Following CFFB with dedicated speed work would mean you’re following the trend in the southern hemisphere. And even though I am biased, that is a very good thing.