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Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees


Sam Burgess breaks cheekbone, plays on


Prop lays into fullback with big shot


Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


Why you should always tackle low


Ludovic Mercier crazy reverse pass

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life as a Pro - Behind the scenes with four professional rugby players

Life as a Pro - Behind the scenes with four professional rugby players

This is something a little different as the IRBs Total Rugby show have made this mini documentary feature that examines life as a professional rugby player, through the eyes of four guys from different parts of the world.

All of the players are forwards, with three being from the front row and one a loose forward. They are Ceri Jones of Harlequins, Michael Reid of North Harbour, Ronnie Uys of the Pumas, and John Muldoon of Connacht. With the exception perhaps of Jones at Harlequins, all of them come from sides that are not renowned powerhouses in their respective leagues.

The countries at hand all have a great love and passion for the game of rugby though, so to be paid to play is the ultimate goal for most aspiring young players. As you will see however, the position brings with it some realities that make the job more than just a stroll in the park.

Salaries, gym, diet, travel, and disappointing crowds are topics that are covered as we get a glimpse into the life of these four players who have made rugby their livelihood. What happens after theyre forced to retire? Time will tell as for some who have been around a while, now is the time to plan ahead for the dreaded life after rugby.

Its an interesting look at aspects of the job that we perhaps dont often think about as fans. We often judge players all too quickly based on incidents that happen in the heat of the moment, dehumanising them with little regard for what goes on before or after the match or incident in question. There is the good with the bad though, as with most sports, rugby is a great leveller.

On a sidenote, for those Connacht fans who were anxiously hoping to see a clip of Fionn Carrs try against Glasgow, its included in this piece as they cover a few short match highlights.

If you have twenty minutes to spare, have a watch as it makes for pretty interesting viewing.


Time: 20:37
Note: With thanks to the IRB's Total Rugby

Posted at 9:19 pm | 33 comments

Viewing 33 comments

Anonymous September 30, 2010 9:59 pm

first hahahahhahahahahha yes!

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Anonymous September 30, 2010 9:59 pm

Nice video! Keep em coming!

Tom

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Laz September 30, 2010 10:13 pm

That was good actually. A little depressing at times, but it shows its not all fun and games and is harder than we realise.

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Joony September 30, 2010 10:24 pm

Great Video. I agree with Laz, it could be a bit depressing but I suppose it has to show both sides. Very enjoyable.

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Juggernauter October 01, 2010 12:24 am

I watched this on ESPN the other day.

When I thought how a similar show with four pro footballers would be, it made me realize that there's nothing like rugby.

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EARugbyFan October 01, 2010 12:28 am

Excellent Clip RD. Keep 'em coming. I love the behind the scenes stuff.

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fry October 01, 2010 12:51 am

Just wondering, what to ticket prices cost around the world? I know the NH has money, so I'm guessing tickets are a bit more expensive to keep those pockets lined, but how much so?

For instance, what does one pay for a reasonable seat for a:

GP match?
ITM cup?
Currie Cup?
Magners League?
Top 14?

Being from the states, I rarely go see NFL games because the ticket prices are simply too high ($50-75+ for "cheap seats" around here).

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fry October 01, 2010 12:55 am

^I'm only 8min into the video, so hopefully they don't mention it, or I'm going to feel like an idiot for posting that question already....

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alasdair October 01, 2010 4:49 am

top 14 from 5 to 60 (except big games).roughly $7 to $80
Magners league games are not too expensive. But you do pay with the Pound
Internationals games are something else.
France Australia this November, Prices go from 15 to 110(roughly $19 to $160). 6nations tickets are more expensive.

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Marc October 01, 2010 5:04 am

Hey Fry. My season ticket for London Irish a few years ago was about $400. That got me to all the home league matches and pool matches of the HC, plus one or two pre-seasoners. All in all i think that worked out to be around 20 bucks a game. Pretty good. I know what you mean about the NFL. I wanted to go to a Dolphins game when i was in Miami a couple of years ago and i seem to remember the cheapest seats there were more than $60

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 7:05 am

Awesome clip. Funny how the North Harbour guy was the only semi-professional player yet he was in the best shape.

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 7:42 am

^ was he? interesting how you can tell that from the clip. you're obviously a physician.

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 7:59 am

LOL. Waste of what could have been an interesting documentary if done right.

Like the other guy said, apart from the North Harbour guy they all look like jokes. For pros you'd think they'd act like it and get in real shape.

You wouldn't be able to tell any of them bar the North Harbour guy were professional athletes. Look like the typical bloke down the pub.

Shame from the IRB. Still pushing the old boy values of the game where fat and unathletic tall guys have a place.

Can't wait till all these unfit public school boys are replaced by genetic freaks who take the game seriously.

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Benson October 01, 2010 8:01 am

Put it this way, he's in better shape than Ronnie Uys :)

Thanks total rugby for picking the most overweight, ugly south african you could find! :P

Seriously though, he's a good guy and a workhorse. Would be even better if he lost a few, could probably still play for the Cheetahs.

Enjoyable video, thanks.

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Benson October 01, 2010 8:05 am

Anonymous, you're right that it could have been done better, but I think they all look like athletes, except perhaps for Uys who looks like a retired athlete.

Reid doesn't even look like a prop so I don't know why you're singing his praises. And to say Muldoon doesn't look professional is ridiculously unfair.

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ConnachtFan October 01, 2010 8:39 am

John Muldoon is the heart and Soul of Connacht Rugby, Rugby is way down the ladder in Connacht in terms of participation ( gaelic Football and Hurling are top 2, then socccer, rugby is making in roads but Connacht plays at a disadvantage: ( 1 year contracts max, playing at a dog track, less funding than Munster, Leinster and Ulster.) Still, considering we are in the worst recession in Irish history, and our government are inept corrupt eejits, rugby gives us something to cheer about, And before you slag off Connacht rugby they have taken some solid scalps, even the Springboks were kept honest by them. Connacht are doing well this season in Magners league, if we finsih above another Irish province we get automatic qualififcation the HCup which would be epic ( so please Leinster keep losing!!!!)Finally Munster, the Fields of Athenry are in Connacht,so go get your own anthemn.

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 8:59 am

I love these sorts of programmes. Good shout RD. Highlights are great, but it is also nice the have these behind the scenes interviews. Great stuff.

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 9:01 am

why did they choose Reid to represent NZ? He's the most over rated prop in NPC rugby t the moment??

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 9:02 am

Muldoon looks every bit the professional. Fair play to Connaught, from Leinster. Not looking forward to tomorrow actually.

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M October 01, 2010 9:04 am

good stuff RD

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yeahboi October 01, 2010 10:31 am

Pretty interesting although there was nothing we didn't know already. Would have liked more infomation on their sprint and weight training though.

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Nick October 01, 2010 11:14 am

Your average price in the GP is 20-25 a ticket. For smaller comps the tickets will be cheaper but that will get you in to the AP and HP. Obviously there are more expensive tickets. I was amazed at how small the SH attendances can be. What would be an average gate for some of the smaller fanchises in the S14?

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Anonymous October 01, 2010 11:55 am

I thought it was hilarious when Ceri Jones says "the rest of the time we try to watch your diet as best you can" and then it cuts to the big fat guy trying to get out of the van. Ha ha not the best editing.

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TB October 02, 2010 12:16 pm

Great RD thanks!

How the culture of rugby has changed. It used to be a wide array of professionals playing for pride. Now it's gym rats that play playstation all day that are ill-equipped for life after sport looking for a paycheck. I don't blame the players.

Pro rugby is a grind.

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Anonymous October 03, 2010 1:08 am

Is that picture (http://dynimg.rte.ie/00035fab10dr.jpg)
Taken in auckland? It looks like Auckland's SkyTower in the reflection on the building.

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Anonymous October 03, 2010 6:17 am

To the above comments about the players not being in shape that's untrue. The north harbor guy was way too skinny for a prop and did you hear him when he said "I try to just follow an ordinary diet". Muldoon and jones are both in great shape for their positions. I do admit the south African guy could lose a bit. Bit comical when he was running

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Mike October 03, 2010 10:44 am

Is that picture (http://dynimg.rte.ie/00035fab10dr.jpg)
Taken in auckland? It looks like Auckland's SkyTower in the reflection on the building.


It could be - Muldoon toured NZ and Aus with Ireland this year. Kiwi fans might remember that he didn't disgrace himself when Ireland were tonked playing with 14 and 13 men against the ABs.

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Anonymous October 03, 2010 2:55 pm

Nice and informative but is there any chance of a second edition with some elite players?

Would be really interesting to see what sort of training, diet and media engagements guys like Carter, Habana, O'Driscoll and Williams have to go through.

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Anonymous October 04, 2010 9:16 am

It's a grass roots documentary, not about the stars, who make up the minority, but the majority of the game, the unknown faces that create the context for stars to play in. As for the physical shape, the North Harbour guy looks more like a flanker than a Prop and the only one out of shape is the SA guy. As always though, I'd love to have a look at the people commenting. If you play the sport you learn not to underestimate. Fitzpatrick hardly had a calendar boy physique but was a top front row player.

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Matthew October 05, 2010 9:41 pm

My season ticket at Northampton Saints for seats that are around 35 a game was around 350, which gets me into 11 league games and the games in pool stages of both cups (3 LV= and 3 Heineken). I think Saints are probably one of the most expensive teams in England, but you get what you pay for.... ;-)

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Nick January 28, 2011 6:16 am

I liked how Ronnie Uys said he tries to keep his meals as lean as possible ;).

Could have been better if they had used an active international perhaps, that is still an aspect of professional rugby after all. All forwards as well, would I be right in saying that forwards have different training and salaries to backs? A bit of variation would have been good but otherwise well done RD, keep 'em coming :D

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Justking February 21, 2012 8:02 pm

Ronnie loves the game more than any other rugby player in the world. He has always been a big boy, has worked hard to keep in shape. Wanna see big, look at Buys that played with him at the pumas

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