Anthropometric, Sprint, and High-Intensity Running Profiles of English Academy Rugby Union Players by Position

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Darrall-Jones, JD, Jones, B, and Till, K. Anthropometric, sprint, and high-intensity running profiles of English academy rugby union players by position. J Strength Cond Res 30(5): 1348–1358, 2016—The purpose of this study was to evaluate the anthropometric, sprint, and high-intensity running profiles of English academy rugby union players by playing positions, and to investigate the relationships between anthropometric, sprint, and high-intensity running characteristics. Data were collected from 67 academy players after the off-season period and consisted of anthropometric (height, body mass, sum of 8 skinfolds [∑SF]), 40-m linear sprint (5-, 10-, 20-, and 40-m splits), the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IRTL-1), and the 30-15 intermittent fitness test (30-15 IFT). Forwards displayed greater stature, body mass, and ∑SF; sprint times and sprint momentum, with lower high-intensity running ability and sprint velocities than backs. Comparisons between age categories demonstrated body mass and sprint momentum to have the largest differences at consecutive age categories for forwards and backs; whereas 20–40-m sprint velocity was discriminate for forwards between under 16s, 18s, and 21s. Relationships between anthropometric, sprint velocity, momentum, and high-intensity running ability demonstrated body mass to negatively impact on sprint velocity (10 m; r = −0.34 to −0.46) and positively affect sprint momentum (e.g., 5 m; r = 0.85–0.93), with large to very large negative relationships with the Yo-Yo IRTL-1 (r = −0.65 to −0.74) and 30-15 IFT (r = −0.59 to −0.79). These findings suggest that there are distinct anthropometric, sprint, and high-intensity running ability differences between and within positions in junior rugby union players. The development of sprint and high-intensity running ability may be impacted by continued increases in body mass as there seems to be a trade-off between momentum, velocity, and the ability to complete high-intensity running.

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