Positional Match Demands of Professional Rugby League Competition

National Strength and Conditioning Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2011, 25 (11), pp. 3076 - 3087
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The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in physical performance and game-specific skill demands between 5 positional groups in a professional rugby league team. Positional groups consisted of the backs (n = 8), forwards (n = 8), fullback (n = 7), hooker (n = 8), and service players (n = 8). Timemotion analysis was used to determine physical performance measures (exercise intensity, distance travelled, time, frequency, and speed measures) and game-specific skill measures (ball carries, supports, ball touches, play the balls, and tackling indices) per minute of playing time. The main finding was that the fullback completed more very highintensity running (VHIR) because of more support runs when compared to all other positional groups (p = 0.017). THe VHIR (p = 0.004) and sprinting indices (p , 0.002) were also greater in the second half of a match for the fullback than in any other positional group. The hooker spent more time jogging than the backs and forwards (p , 0.001) and touched the ball on more occasions than any other positional group (p , 0.001). The backs spent more time walking than the forwards, hooker, and service players (p , 0.001). The forwards, hooker, and service players completed more tackles per minute during a match than the backs and fullback (p , 0.001). The fullback and forwards also ran the ball on more occasions than the backs, hooker, and service players did (p , 0.001). These results show that positional roles play an important part in determining the amount of physical and game-specific skill involvement during match play.
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