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IRFU to Establish HPC as Rehabilitation Centre of Excellence

IRFU to Establish HPC as Rehabilitation Centre of Excellence

Robbie Henshaw with Einar Einarsson

The IRFU conducted a world-wide search for a specialist rehabilitation physiotherapist to act as the anchor of a new fully integrated service provision for players of national interest based out of Irish Rugby’s High Performance Centre on the Sport Ireland Campus.

Einar Einarsson has been appointed as the IRFU’s Specialist Rehabilitation Physiotherapist and he will work players of national interest from the senior Men’s and Women’s squads and the Sevens programme as part of a fully integrated programme that provides world class rehabilitation, strength and conditioning and rugby coaching as well as nutritional and psychological support.

Einar joins the IRFU from Aspetar in Doha and has worked in the NBA and the Premier League over the course of his career.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“It was always part of our vision to develop the High Performance Centre as a Centre of Excellence for rehabilitation and player development.  The relatively small size of our elite playing pool requires us to be innovative and world leading in how we develop and maintain our players and ensure they are available to perform at the highest level.  The HPC is a world class facility and now we are in a position to deliver world class supports to players of national interest who are returning from injury.”

Einar Einarsson facilitating a rehab session with Robbie Henshaw during the 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championships

Phil Glasgow, IRFU Head of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, commented, “Injury can be a frustrating time for players. It can also be an opportunity to work on areas of physical and technical development which can be difficult to do when you have matches every week. To maximise this opportunity, we are building a team of experts who will work provincial and national medical teams to develop an integrated return to performance plan.

Operating out of a centralised hub allows us to increase the intensity of service delivery which can be difficult when servicing a large number of players at the provinces.  We are looking to reduce the time the player is unavailable to play, prevent injuries recurring and ensure the player is ready to be re-integrated to the level of rugby required.”

The IRFU intends to invest energy and expertise across a number of disciplines during a players’ time out of the game through injury, Glasgow said;

“It’s important that during these rehabilitation windows we can work with players across a range of related disciplines which will again ensure that the player’s time away from the game is maximised.  Whether that is technical from the coaching staff or movement mechanics from the athletic performance team or gains that can be made in areas such as Nutrition or Psychology,”

“Over the course of the recent Six Nations campaign we have learned a great deal of how we can utilise and maximise this new service and how best it can interface with national and provincial medical teams.  We will continue to evolve the offering to ensure our elite players receive world class support,” continued Glasgow.