The physical characteristics of specific phases of play during rugby union match play

Purpose: To quantify the frequencies and timings of rugby union match-play phases (ie, attacking, defending, ball in play [BIP], and ball out of play [BOP]) and then compare the physical characteristics of attacking, defending, and BOP between forwards and backs. Methods: Data were analyzed from 59 male rugby union academy players (259 observations). Each player wore a microtechnology device (OptimEye S5; Catapult, Melbourne, Australia) with video footage analyzed for phase timings and frequencies. Dependent variables were analyzed using a linear mixed-effects model and assessed with magnitude-based inferences and Cohen d effect sizes (ES). Results: Attack, defense, BIP, and BOP times were 12.7 (3.1), 14.7 (2.5), 27.4 (2.9), and 47.4 (4.1) min, respectively. Mean attack (26 [17] s), defense (26 [18] s), and BIP (33 [24] s) phases were shorter than BOP phases (59 [33] s). The relative distance in attacking phases was similar (112.2 [48.4] vs 114.6 [52.3] m/min, ES = 0.00 ± 0.23) between forwards and backs but greater in forwards (114.5 [52.7] vs 109.0 [54.8] m/min, ES = 0.32 ± 0.23) during defense and greater in backs during BOP (ES = -0.66 ± 0.23). Conclusions: Total time in attack, defense, and therefore BIP was less than BOP. Relative distance was greater in forwards during defense, whereas it was greater in backs during BOP and similar between positions during attack. Players should be exposed to training intensities from in-play phases (ie, attack and defense) rather than whole-match data and practice technical skills during these intensities.
© Copyright 2018 International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. All rights reserved.

Subjects: rugby performance capacity skill
Notations: sport games
DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0625
Published in: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Published: 2018
Volume: 13
Issue: 10
Pages: 1331-1336
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced