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Player running with the ball

1. Young rugby players should focus on good eating and drinking practices to support optimum performance. Fact sheets to support this are available through the IRFU website

2. The use of protein supplements should not be recommended by schools, coaches, teachers or others involved in the training of young rugby players.

3. The IRFU strongly advises against the use of nutritional ergogenic aids (Table 2), in particular creatine, in young rugby players under 18 years of age.

4. Young rugby players with medical conditions (for example diabetes, asthma, coeliac disease and nutritional allergies) should receive appropriate medical and nutritional advice to assist their optimum performance.

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IRFU Guidelines

Dietary education is the key to support good habits for health, growth and performance. Young rugby players need to focus on good, regular eating and drinking practices to support their training and competitive programmes.

Eat2Compete fact sheets give practical nutrition information to help young players eat and drink well to support their performance. These fact sheets can be downloaded from the IRFU website

The IRFU also has a nutrition education programme in place that all staff involved in training and coaching young players are encouraged to participate in.

The focus of the education is to equip staff with the knowledge and skills to deliver practical nutrition advice to young players.

Useful websites

World Rugby – Keep Rugby Clean

Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute

Performance Food

Australian Institute of Sport

Sports Dietitians Australia

Iowa State University Sports Nutrition

Sport Ireland

UK Sport

World Anti-Doping Agency

Irish Rugby – Eat 2 Compete

Professional contacts

The Sports Nutrition Interest Group (SNIG) is part of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute, whose members are Dietitians (in both north and south of Ireland) with experience in sports nutrition practice. If you wish to arrange for a player or team of players to see a dietitian, please email your request to the secretary at snigindi@gmail.com


American Academy of Paediatrics Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Position on use of performance-enhancing substances. Paediatrics 2005; 115: 1103 – 6

American College of Sports Medicine. Roundtable: The physiological and health effects of oral creatine supplementation. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 2000;32: 706 – 17

Irish Sports Council: Supplements and Sports Foods Policy. January 2012.