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An Exploration of the Role of Character in the Identification of Talent Across Tier One Rugby Nations




character, character development, rugby, performance, talent identification


Character is a complex concept which has been discussed by scholars for millennia, and researched extensively in sport. Since its conception, rugby union’s ability to build character has been widely accepted. However, little is known about stakeholders’ (e.g., coaches, scouts, recruitment and support staff) conceptualizations of character and how it is applied when selecting players within talent identification. To examine the understanding of character within rugby union and identify the key aspects relevant to the talent identification process. A case study design was used and interviews were conducted with nine rugby union talent identification experts from eight of the ten tier-one nations. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. No consistent understanding of character existed within the sample, however, themes suggest a neo-Aristotelian approach may provide a useful framework. Performance character virtues were valued most and included: industriousness, resilience, and perseverance. Moral character was second most valued by participants including; self-regulation, self-awareness, and honesty. Civic and intellectual aspects of character were mentioned but not as frequently.


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