Mar Álvarez, spanish rugby federation physical trainer

"Soon we will be able to rise within the top 10 of the women's rugby elite of which we are already part"

Sport Women Leisure Interviews


January 2018.    Reading time: 5 minutos

Mar Álvarez joined the staff of the Spanish Rugby Federation five years ago and will be one of the key players in the next European championship as the only woman present in the technical staff of a male team.

Mar Álvarez
Mar Álvarez, in charge of the conditioning coaching for the men's rugby team. © Juan Carlos Ogazón.

The 2018 Rugby Europe Championship (REC) External link, opens in new window. begins on 10 February. The XV Spanish men's rugby team will qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan if it finishes first in the group or if it finishes second through a play-off match with the Samoan team during the qualification matches. This would be a historic feat, as it was achieved only once in 1999, in Wales. "It's a historic challenge for our team and for our sport. It's going to be very difficult to attain this, but we are very driven, well-prepared, and capable of achieving it." Mar Álvarez, the team's strength and conditioning coach, is one of the key players without meaning to be. She is the only woman who takes part in the REC: No other team has a female presence within the technical staff, other than some doctors and physiotherapists. The same applies to all other international teams. "I have never met a female strength and conditioning coach within World Rugby training or in any team competition." Mar is a pioneer, and although she does not think about it, she does recognise that "It makes me try even harder, because we have to open the door, and I like that."

Mar Álvarez joined the staff of the Spanish Rugby Federation External link, opens in new window. five years ago. "The head coach, Santiago Santos, opted for my experience as a strength and conditioning coach because — in addition to my career of more than 14 years as a player and rugby coach — I had solid technical and tactical knowledge."

You know in detail the world of both men's and women's rugby. How do they compare with the world elite?

If we follow the line of activity that we are applying in the lower categories of the team for both the male and female categories, we would be able to ensure our presence among the world elite. We have a specific development plan for players under 13 years of age and another one for young people under 18 years of age that we have transferred to the clubs. This allows us to all work along the same line, and we have already begun to see the results. Spanish women's rugby is doing very well. If we continue in the same vein, soon we will be able to rise within the top top 10 of the world elite, of which we are already part.

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