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Wattbike And Italian Rugby: Improving Player Performance

The Six Nations - the biggest annual event in Rugby Union - started on Saturday. Pitting nation against nation in a battle of power, technique and tactics. The Italian Rugby team are looking to refine their performance in 2018, moving towards a more scientific training approach.  They have chosen Wattbike as one of the key performance tools to help achieve their goals. 

Tom Crampton - Commercial Marketing Manager at Wattbike, kicked off the partnership with a trip to Italy. Here, he explains what the trip consisted of: 

I arrived at Treviso in Northern Italy with Wattbike’s Sport Scientist Eddie Fletcher, ready to spend a few days with Pete Atkinson, Head of Human Performance at Italian Rugby and the coaches of the two elite teams, Benetton and Zebre. 

Our first day was spent in Parma with Zebre Rugby, who play in the Pro14 alongside teams from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and South Africa. Eddie spent several hours with the coaching staff explaining the importance of bike fit, how to use resistance and cadence effectively, as well as illustrating how testing can improve performance in elite sports. 

Much of the session on day one was spent focussing on the benefits of off-feet conditioning and using the Wattbike to improve performance and player longevity. 

On our second day, we met players and coaches at Benetton Rugby who also play in the Pro14 alongside Zebre. We put three players, including Italy International Dean Budd through their paces with the UCI test protocol. The players put up impressive numbers as they were put through test, which comprises of two 6 second max efforts, a 30 second max effort and a 4 minute sustained effort, and is designed to give a full picture of a players power.

The introduction of Wattbike marks the beginning of a new training approach for Italian Rugby. Pete Atkinson, Head of Human Performance at FIR, said,

“Working with a technology partner such as Wattbike allows us the opportunity to boost the National Team and PRO14 franchise’s physical preparation. It helps us be efficient with players who need to offload following a matchday, or those with a background of injury, in order to maintain the highest possible level of fitness.”

“The intention is to develop the partnership and use Wattbike’s bespoke knowledge to help us prescribe specific sessions to our athletes. As we develop the partnership, they will send their staff to share information with our staff on cycling and cycling fitness. It represents a great option to be smart, and more and more precise in our training”.


To join the competitive spirit of the 6 Nations, we've launched a 6 Nations challenge, head over to Twitter to find out how you can get involved. 

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