Hamish McConnochie’s photo of South African Victor Matfield taking a line-out against New Zealand in 2006, via Wikimedia Commons.
Hamish McConnochie’s photo of South African Victor Matfield taking a line-out against New Zealand in 2006, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rugby – Physics and Grit, with Todd Clever

South African Victor Matfield takes a line-out against New Zealand in 2006. Photo Credit: Hamish McConnochie via Wikimedia Commons.

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About This Episode

It’s rugby’s time in the spotlight. On this episode of Playing with Science, hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly discover more about the physics and grit of rugby alongside Todd Clever, former USA Rugby captain and the Eagles most capped player and Trevor Lipscombe, Director of the Catholic University of America Press and author of The Physics of Rugby. To start things off, we learn the rugby basics from Todd, and Gary and Chuck take us through a history of the sport. You’ll hear why rugby is described as “elegant violence.” Trevor explains why fewer injuries happen in rugby than in American football, even though rugby players don’t wear pads and helmets. We also learn more about the “all skills, all players” philosophy in rugby and how each player plays offense and defense. Trevor gives us the science behind some classic rugby terms: the scrum, the lineout, and the spin pass. You’ll also hear how Todd taught himself to pass with both hands. Lastly, Todd shares his enthusiasm about the growing rugby culture in the United States and Trevor ponders what the future of rugby will look like on an international scale. Are you ready to play yet?  

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Rugby: Physics and Grit, with Todd Clever.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Gary O'Reilly

    Gary O'Reilly
    Sports Analyst, Broadcaster, Professional Footballer
  • Host

    Chuck Nice

    Chuck Nice
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Todd Clever

    Todd Clever
    Former USA Rugby team captain; Eagles most capped player
  • Guest

    Trevor Lipscombe

    Trevor Lipscombe
    Director, Catholic University of America Press; author of “The Physics of Rugby”

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Music in This Episode