Time motion analysis of under-19 rugby union players during match-play
Steyn, Tertius Christopher
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction: Rugby is a highly intermittent sport that is characterized by many different physical demands such as walking, jogging, running and sprinting at maximal velocities. The requirements between forward and backline players differ, so do the physical and physiological demands of u/19 rugby players. Understanding the physiological demands of u/19 rugby is essential to the development of rugby coaching as well as strength and conditioning programmes in South Africa. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to profile physical and physiological demands of under-19 rugby players during match-play in the 2019 rugby season, as well as to compare these demands across different positional groups. The following physical demands were recorded using global positioning system (GPS) technology for time motion analysis (TMA): total player load, total player load per metre, distance covered, total distance percentage in velocity bands 1-5, total duration in velocity bands 1-5, and the maximum velocity. Methods: GPS data of the 15 player positions in rugby for u/19 first team schoolboy rugby players were collected in 11 matches, with 149 data sets. GPS data was collected by the Catapult Minimax X4 units to determine the physiological demands of on-field playing positions. The following variables were recorded: total player load, total player load per metre, distance covered, total distance percentage in velocity bands 1-5, total duration in velocity bands 1-5, and the maximum velocity. This study made use of a quantitative, cross-sectional research design to determine the physical demands of u/19 rugby match-play using GPS technology. Specific measuring equipment, namely tri-axial accelerometer GPS technology, was used to measure the physical activity profile of u/19 rugby players. Participants were selected using non-random sampling. The researcher had the availability of these players and therefore used convenient sampling. Furthermore, the pairwise mean differences between playing positions were estimated, together with P-values associated with the null-hypothesis of zero mean difference between the pair of playing positions in question. Results: The total player load (TPL) was higher in forwards than in backline players, with locks experiencing the highest TPL. The data in Table 4.1 shows that the mean TPL for all positions in under-19 rugby was 583.7 Player Load™(PL) (au). The highest mean TPL values were experienced by the positions locks (636.4 PL (au)), props (603.3 PL (au)) and lose forwards (600 PL (au)). The lowest mean TPL values were experienced by the flyhalf (541.7 PL(au)), wings (526.1 PL(au)) and fullback (556.8 PL (au)) playing positions. The mean total distance covered by all under-19 rugby players was 5733.5 m over a period of 11 matches in 2019. The fullback position covered the highest distance 6119.2 m, followed by the scrumhalf 5872.6 m, centres 5800.3 m, flyhalf 5689.4 m and all backline positions. The forwards covered lower distances than that of backline players, except for the position of hooker 5796.7 m. Lock 5695.8 m and loose forwards 5692.1 m had similar distances. The lowest mean value for total distance was by the props covering 5584.5 m on average. This confirms that distances covered are higher in backline players. The mean maximum velocity value for all positions was 8.3 m.sˉ¹. The total duration mean value for all players showed that the most time was spent in velocity bands (VB)1-2, compared to less time spent in VB3 and the least time spent in VB4 and 5. Conclusions: The study revealed the differences in the player profile of u/19 rugby players participating in first team rugby at u/19 level. The findings confirm that the physical demands of forwards and backline positions differ from one another, as is true when comparing u/19 rugby to professional rugby. GPS technology can be used as a monitoring tool for player management and the findings of the study should be considered when designing conditioning programmes. Forwards and backline players have different physical demands and should be trained accordingly in u/19 rugby.