This study investigated the effect of ingesting carbohydrate alone or with protein, on functional and metabolic markers of recovery from a rugby union-specific shuttle running protocol. On three occasions, at least one week apart in a counterbalanced order, nine experienced male rugby union forwards ingested placebo, carbohydrate (1.2 g∙kg body mass∙hr-1) or carbohydrate with protein (0.4 g∙kg body mass∙hr-1) before, during and after a rugby union-specific protocol. Markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase, pre, 258 ± 171 vs 24 hours post, 574 ± 285 U·l-1; myoglobin, pre, 50 ± 18 vs immediately post, 210 ± 84 nmol.l-1, P<0.05) and muscle soreness (1, 2 and 3 [maximum soreness = 8] for pre-, immediately post- and 24 hours post-exercise, respectively) increased. Leg strength and repeated 6s cycle sprint mean power were slightly reduced post-exercise (93 and 95% of pre-exercise, respectively, P<0.05), but were almost fully recovered after 24 hours (97 and 99% of pre-exercise, respectively). There were no differences between trials for any measure. These results indicate that in experienced rugby players, the small degree of muscle damage and reduction in function induced by the exercise protocol were not attenuated by the ingestion of carbohydrate and protein.