Rugby Science aims to translate sport and exercise research into an accessible, practical and easy-to-read format. Although the site’s main focus is rugby, it is also open to other research areas that may be applicable to rugby. 

Become a Rugby Scientist

Whether you are an academic wanting to translate your published work, or a student wanting to discuss your latest research ideas and findings, or a strength and conditioning  coach, physiotherapist, medical doctor or coach wanting to share your engagement and application of science and research, we would like you to be part of the team. Articles need not be long (between 200-300 words), and infographics and visualizations are strongly encouraged. 


Dr Sharief Hendricks

Dr Sharief Hendricks is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cape Town and a Visiting Fellow at Leeds Beckett University (United Kingdom). He completed his PhD in 2012 and already has over 65 publications in international peer-reviewed journals (half of which are first authored) with an h-index of 18 and i10-index of 31. He has been invited and presented at a number of international conferences, one of which was the World Rugby Medical Commission. He has a National Research Foundation rating of C2 (this rating is usually given for scientists over 35).

In 2019, he was listed on the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans. He was also recently voted President-Elect for the South African Sports Medicine Association (the first non-physician to hold this position). His primary research interests are sport performance, injury prevention and athlete welfare, working with populations ranging from community sport to professional athletes. Other research interests include how engaged researchers and stakeholders are in health research and innovation and how medical journals use social media to communicate research. His research has changed policy in rugby and produced novel training frameworks and equipment to reduce the risk of injury while optimizing performance in sport. He has graduated 32 students (2 PhD, 5 MSc, 25 Honours) and currently supervisors 23 local and international postgraduate students (8 PhD, 10 MSc, 5 Honours). He also convenes the Honours Course and MSc/PhD course in Exercise Science at the University of Cape Town, as well as co-convenes the science and communication course within UCT’s Faculty of Health Science.

In line with his research, Dr Hendricks also produces a range of science communication outputs such infographics, blogs and video animation for public engagement and benefit. He has been the social media editor for the European Journal of Sport Science, one the top multidisciplinary journals in the field of sport science, for the last 5 years. In addition, he is a research consultant for South Africa Cricketers’ Association (Professional Cricketers’ National Players’ Association), New Zealand Cricket Player’s Association, South African Rugby Union, Western Province Rugby and Blue Bulls Rugby. Given his expertise, Sharief collaborates with a number of international experts on a range of research projects. As another piece of evidence for his expertise, Dr Hendricks is a co-lead/co-investigator on international World Rugby projects. Dr Hendricks is a member of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s  (SASCOC) Sport Science, Technology, and Research Commission and was an executive board member of the South Africa Sports Medicine Association for 3 years. From a tertiary education leadership perspective, Dr Hendricks serves on the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences Human Ethics committee, Engaged Scholarship working group and the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences Communications Advisory group, and departmental Transformation and Social Responsiveness Committee. Sharief enjoys travelling (has been to over 23 countries) and freediving in the ocean. In his spare time he helps with ocean clean ups and teaches high school learners how to snorkel.

You can follow him on

Twitter @Sharief_H

Instagram @Sharief_H

Publications Google Scholar

Contributing Editors

Steve den Hollander

Steve is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He also works as a Sports Scientist for the Western Province Rugby Academy and has worked as a video analyst for several local rugby clubs. Steve’s research expertise includes performance analysis, skill acquisition and development, player monitoring and biokinetics. His PhD evaluated the assessment and development of contact technique in rugby. Steve has 10 peer-reviewed publications in various Sports Medicine journals.


Natalie Erskine 

Natalie Erskine is a Masters student at the University of Cape Town, Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. Natalie’s research interests include knowledge translation and science communication with a specific focus on the using social media and digital media (e.g. video abstracts and infographics) to disseminate research. Her honours thesis looked at how sharing video abstracts (of research articles) on Twitter affected journal article impact. Natalie has created multiple video abstracts for articles published by the European Journal of Sport Science which have been shared to their Twitter account. Translating research into visually engaging media gives her the opportunity to combine her love for science and creativity. Natalie enjoys the outdoors (hiking, the beach etc). In her spare time she tutors high school students and volunteers at her local church.












  1. Enrique TOPO Rodriguez

    Dear Fellow researchers and students,
    I’d love to connect with you and compare notes, as well as to exchange information on all Sports Injury Prevention, Wellbeing Promotion, particularly in spinal & neck injuries, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, concussion, dementia. I am the Founder & General Convener of the ISSF (Sydney based).
    Triple Rugby Union International (1971-1992), with a few South African friends.
    Look forward to your response. Mob: +61412 403304 E: toporod@gmail.com
    Best regards, TOPO


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