Innovative training device for rugby players


Rugby Lift in Belfast has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop an innovative and award winning technical training aid that will assist and enhance lineout coaching.

The product invented by Phil Patterson, who plays in the middle of the back row for Civil Service NI RFC, is already attracting interest from Ulster Rugby. It draws on personal experience and has been designed as a strength and timing aid, and also to help players perfect lifting techniques and thereby avoid muscle and other serious injuries. The product has been shortlisted for a Technical Innovation Award at Rugby Expo exhibition at Twickenham, London, from 14-15 November.

Rugby Lift has been developed in conjunction with the design and manufacturing teams at Hutchinson Engineering, one of Northern Ireland’s leading precision engineering companies, in Kilrea. The device is made from powder-coated galvanised steel which combines strength and mobility.

The company has also received advice and support from Invest Northern Ireland, the region’s business development body which has a sharp focus on promoting market-led innovation.

Phil Patterson, an Economics graduate from Queen’s University in Belfast, commenting on Rugby Lift, said: “Over the years I’ve seen many players seriously injured at line-outs because of bad lifting techniques; injuries ranging from broken limbs to torn muscles.

“What Rugby Lift does very effectively is to strengthen muscle groups and to improve strength, technique and timing of lineout lifters. It is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use, and could revolutionise lineout training.

“I’ve trialled the prototype device successfully with players, both at elite and amateur levels, in Northern Ireland. In the modern game, lineouts are arguably the prevalent set piece, and Rugby Lift could offer a competitive advantage. In youth rugby, it offers a safe method of coaching fundamental lifting skills which will reduce injuries a great deal.” he added.

Olive Hill, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation and Technology Solutions, said: “Rugby Lift has produced a novel solution to the problem of muscle and other injuries sustained by players during training and matches. These injuries, in what is a very physical and increasingly popular game, can be very serious.

“This start-up business has clearly identified a multi-level market opportunity and has addressed it with help from a local engineering firm. The result is a unique, locally designed and manufactured product with worldwide appeal.”

Phil will be launching Rugby Lift at Rugby Expo at Twickenham in London on 14 – 15 November.