I was asked the question by a teammate the other day and it intrigued me. He asked me how to get better. I was walking through the airport and I told him the obvious answer of listening to the coaches and practicing what they told him. I then added on that he needed to watch a lot of rugby. He looked at my quizzically when I said this, but I think that is really important to understand the game. This can only come through experience and this can be through your experience or other’s experiences.
This leads me to the next question, how will watching rugby make me a better player? It will only make you better if you watch to become a better player. This means distinguishing the fan that lives in you from the rugby player that has a passion to learn. My suggestion is to watch a match and focus on the two-four players who play the same position as you. By the end of the game, you will have a laundry list of the good and the bad things that player has done. After identifying the good and the bad, go back through and take a look at what lead up to the incidents you have identified. If the player missed a tackle, why? Poor footwork, beaten by a better player, lack of urgency or lack of control. If the player threw a great pass, why? Hips in the right direction, pointing fingers to finish, drawing the defender or following the pass. If you can identify the whys, you will learn from top class players simply by watching matches.
If you search YouTube, you will find a number of full length matches. This gives you plenty of opportunity to pause, rewind and re-watch. Learn what makes great players successful and look to incorporate their experiences into your own practice and games.