Switching to a vegan or plant-based diet is a growing trend amongst sportspeople across the world. Lionel Messi, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are just some of the names that have embraced the dietary adjustment, but it is yet to catch on in rugby so much thus far. 

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However, All Blacks and Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara recently shared on Twitter the effects of switching to a vegan diet. 

The 65-cap All Blacks wrote: “Been doing some research on how to improve my diet as a vegan athlete and come across a lot of hate from people talking it down. I personally haven’t had any negative reaction from it and feel pretty good pre and post games.” 

South Africa and Northampton Saints scrum-half Cobus Reinach commented, saying that he has adopted a plant-based diet this season in the northern hemisphere, and that he is “feeling much better” since he started eating cleaner. He said: “Probably started beginning of our season here.  Not completely vegan will eat meat beginning of week but 3 days before a game I eat no meat. Feeling really good though.”

Veganism has become increasingly popular amongst athletes in recent years, helped by documentaries such as Netflix’s The Game Changers, which asserts that reducing the consumption of meat and dairy products can improve athletic performance. 

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However, this revolution has not made its way into the game of rugby in the way it has in some other sports, but the likes of Perenara and Reinach are a testament to the benefits of such a dietary change.

Before the global suspension of rugby due to the coronavirus pandemic, the season in the southern hemisphere was still young, and Reinach’s season with Northampton after the Rugby World Cup was also relatively fresh, but many will be interested to see the long term effects of this lifestyle change, and whether it picks up momentum in rugby.  

Watch: When will Premiership Rugby return?

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