Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players

D.J. Cunningham, David A Shearer, Scott Drawer, Ben Pollard, Robin Eager, Neil Taylor, C.J. Cook, Liam P Kilduff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This study compared the movement demands of elite international Under-20 age grade (U20s) and senior international rugby union players during competitive tournament match play. Forty elite professional players from an U20 and 27 elite professional senior players from international performance squads were monitored using 10Hz global positioning systems (GPS) during 15 (U20s) and 8 (senior) international tournament matches during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Data on distances, velocities, accelerations, decelerations, high metabolic load (HML) distance and efforts, and number of sprints were derived. Data files from players who played over 60 min (n = 258) were separated firstly into Forwards and Backs, and more specifically into six positional groups; FR-Front Row (prop & hooker), SR-Second Row, BR-Back Row (Flankers & No.8), HB-Half Backs (scrum half & outside half), MF-Midfield (centres), B3 -Back Three (wings & full back) for match analysis. Linear mixed models revealed significant differences between U20 and senior teams in both the forwards and backs. In the forwards the seniors covered greater HML distance (736.4 ± 280.3 vs 701.3 ± 198.7m, p = 0.01) and severe decelerations (2.38 ± 2.2 vs 2.28 ± 1.65, p = 0.05) compared to the U20s, but performed less relative HSR (3.1 ± 1.6 vs 3.2 ± 1.5, p < 0.01), moderate (19.4 ± 10.5 vs 23.6 ± 10.5, p = 0.01) and high accelerations (2.2 ± 1.9 vs 4.3 ± 2.7, p < 0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.11 ± 0.06 vs 0.11 ± 0.05, p < 0.01). Senior backs covered a greater relative distance (73.3 ± 8.1 vs 69.1 ± 7.6 m•min-1, p < 0.01), greater High Metabolic Load (HML) distance (1138.0 ± 233.5 vs 1060.4 ± 218.1m, p < 0.01), HML efforts (112.7 ± 22.2 vs 98.8 ± 21.7, p < 0.01) and heavy decelerations (9.9 ± 4.3 vs 9.5 ± 4.4, p = 0.04) than the U20s backs. However, the U20s backs performed more relative HSR (7.3 ± 2.1 vs 7.2 ± 2.1, p <0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.26 ± 0.07 vs 0.25 ± 0.07, p < 0.01). Further investigation highlighted differences between the 6 positional groups of the teams. The positional groups that differed the most on the variables measured were the FR and MF groups, with the U20s FR having higher outputs on HSR, moderate & high accelerations, moderate, high & severe decelerations, HML distance, HML efforts, and sprints•min-1. For the MF group the senior players produced greater values for relative distance covered, HSR, moderate decelerations, HML distance and sprint•min-1. The BR position group was most similar with the only differences seen on heavy accelerations (U20s higher) and moderate decelerations (seniors higher). Findings demonstrate that U20s internationals appear to be an adequate 'stepping stone' for preparing players for movement characteristics found senior International rugby, however, the current study highlight for the first time that certain positional groups may require more time to be able to match the movement demands required at a higher playing level than others. Conditioning staff must also bear in mind that the U20s players whilst maintaining or improving match movement capabilities may require to gain substantial mass in some positions to match their senior counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0164990
JournalPLoS One
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Deceleration
Football
back (body region)
Geographic Information Systems
Information Storage and Retrieval
global positioning systems
Global positioning system
Linear Models

Cite this

Cunningham, D. J., Shearer, D. A., Drawer, S., Pollard, B., Eager, R., Taylor, N., ... Kilduff, L. P. (2016). Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players. PLoS One, 11(11), e0164990. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164990
Cunningham, D.J. ; Shearer, David A ; Drawer, Scott ; Pollard, Ben ; Eager, Robin ; Taylor, Neil ; Cook, C.J. ; Kilduff, Liam P. / Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players. In: PLoS One. 2016 ; Vol. 11, No. 11. pp. e0164990.
@article{87129174e9474de6aab2260e53983c29,
title = "Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players",
abstract = "This study compared the movement demands of elite international Under-20 age grade (U20s) and senior international rugby union players during competitive tournament match play. Forty elite professional players from an U20 and 27 elite professional senior players from international performance squads were monitored using 10Hz global positioning systems (GPS) during 15 (U20s) and 8 (senior) international tournament matches during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Data on distances, velocities, accelerations, decelerations, high metabolic load (HML) distance and efforts, and number of sprints were derived. Data files from players who played over 60 min (n = 258) were separated firstly into Forwards and Backs, and more specifically into six positional groups; FR-Front Row (prop & hooker), SR-Second Row, BR-Back Row (Flankers & No.8), HB-Half Backs (scrum half & outside half), MF-Midfield (centres), B3 -Back Three (wings & full back) for match analysis. Linear mixed models revealed significant differences between U20 and senior teams in both the forwards and backs. In the forwards the seniors covered greater HML distance (736.4 ± 280.3 vs 701.3 ± 198.7m, p = 0.01) and severe decelerations (2.38 ± 2.2 vs 2.28 ± 1.65, p = 0.05) compared to the U20s, but performed less relative HSR (3.1 ± 1.6 vs 3.2 ± 1.5, p < 0.01), moderate (19.4 ± 10.5 vs 23.6 ± 10.5, p = 0.01) and high accelerations (2.2 ± 1.9 vs 4.3 ± 2.7, p < 0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.11 ± 0.06 vs 0.11 ± 0.05, p < 0.01). Senior backs covered a greater relative distance (73.3 ± 8.1 vs 69.1 ± 7.6 m•min-1, p < 0.01), greater High Metabolic Load (HML) distance (1138.0 ± 233.5 vs 1060.4 ± 218.1m, p < 0.01), HML efforts (112.7 ± 22.2 vs 98.8 ± 21.7, p < 0.01) and heavy decelerations (9.9 ± 4.3 vs 9.5 ± 4.4, p = 0.04) than the U20s backs. However, the U20s backs performed more relative HSR (7.3 ± 2.1 vs 7.2 ± 2.1, p <0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.26 ± 0.07 vs 0.25 ± 0.07, p < 0.01). Further investigation highlighted differences between the 6 positional groups of the teams. The positional groups that differed the most on the variables measured were the FR and MF groups, with the U20s FR having higher outputs on HSR, moderate & high accelerations, moderate, high & severe decelerations, HML distance, HML efforts, and sprints•min-1. For the MF group the senior players produced greater values for relative distance covered, HSR, moderate decelerations, HML distance and sprint•min-1. The BR position group was most similar with the only differences seen on heavy accelerations (U20s higher) and moderate decelerations (seniors higher). Findings demonstrate that U20s internationals appear to be an adequate 'stepping stone' for preparing players for movement characteristics found senior International rugby, however, the current study highlight for the first time that certain positional groups may require more time to be able to match the movement demands required at a higher playing level than others. Conditioning staff must also bear in mind that the U20s players whilst maintaining or improving match movement capabilities may require to gain substantial mass in some positions to match their senior counterparts.",
author = "D.J. Cunningham and Shearer, {David A} and Scott Drawer and Ben Pollard and Robin Eager and Neil Taylor and C.J. Cook and Kilduff, {Liam P}",
note = "Export Date: 25 May 2017",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0164990",
language = "English",
volume = "11",
pages = "e0164990",
journal = "PLoS One",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "Public Library of Science",
number = "11",

}

Cunningham, DJ, Shearer, DA, Drawer, S, Pollard, B, Eager, R, Taylor, N, Cook, CJ & Kilduff, LP 2016, 'Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players', PLoS One, vol. 11, no. 11, pp. e0164990. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164990

Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players. / Cunningham, D.J.; Shearer, David A; Drawer, Scott; Pollard, Ben; Eager, Robin; Taylor, Neil; Cook, C.J.; Kilduff, Liam P.

In: PLoS One, Vol. 11, No. 11, 2016, p. e0164990.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players

AU - Cunningham, D.J.

AU - Shearer, David A

AU - Drawer, Scott

AU - Pollard, Ben

AU - Eager, Robin

AU - Taylor, Neil

AU - Cook, C.J.

AU - Kilduff, Liam P

N1 - Export Date: 25 May 2017

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - This study compared the movement demands of elite international Under-20 age grade (U20s) and senior international rugby union players during competitive tournament match play. Forty elite professional players from an U20 and 27 elite professional senior players from international performance squads were monitored using 10Hz global positioning systems (GPS) during 15 (U20s) and 8 (senior) international tournament matches during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Data on distances, velocities, accelerations, decelerations, high metabolic load (HML) distance and efforts, and number of sprints were derived. Data files from players who played over 60 min (n = 258) were separated firstly into Forwards and Backs, and more specifically into six positional groups; FR-Front Row (prop & hooker), SR-Second Row, BR-Back Row (Flankers & No.8), HB-Half Backs (scrum half & outside half), MF-Midfield (centres), B3 -Back Three (wings & full back) for match analysis. Linear mixed models revealed significant differences between U20 and senior teams in both the forwards and backs. In the forwards the seniors covered greater HML distance (736.4 ± 280.3 vs 701.3 ± 198.7m, p = 0.01) and severe decelerations (2.38 ± 2.2 vs 2.28 ± 1.65, p = 0.05) compared to the U20s, but performed less relative HSR (3.1 ± 1.6 vs 3.2 ± 1.5, p < 0.01), moderate (19.4 ± 10.5 vs 23.6 ± 10.5, p = 0.01) and high accelerations (2.2 ± 1.9 vs 4.3 ± 2.7, p < 0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.11 ± 0.06 vs 0.11 ± 0.05, p < 0.01). Senior backs covered a greater relative distance (73.3 ± 8.1 vs 69.1 ± 7.6 m•min-1, p < 0.01), greater High Metabolic Load (HML) distance (1138.0 ± 233.5 vs 1060.4 ± 218.1m, p < 0.01), HML efforts (112.7 ± 22.2 vs 98.8 ± 21.7, p < 0.01) and heavy decelerations (9.9 ± 4.3 vs 9.5 ± 4.4, p = 0.04) than the U20s backs. However, the U20s backs performed more relative HSR (7.3 ± 2.1 vs 7.2 ± 2.1, p <0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.26 ± 0.07 vs 0.25 ± 0.07, p < 0.01). Further investigation highlighted differences between the 6 positional groups of the teams. The positional groups that differed the most on the variables measured were the FR and MF groups, with the U20s FR having higher outputs on HSR, moderate & high accelerations, moderate, high & severe decelerations, HML distance, HML efforts, and sprints•min-1. For the MF group the senior players produced greater values for relative distance covered, HSR, moderate decelerations, HML distance and sprint•min-1. The BR position group was most similar with the only differences seen on heavy accelerations (U20s higher) and moderate decelerations (seniors higher). Findings demonstrate that U20s internationals appear to be an adequate 'stepping stone' for preparing players for movement characteristics found senior International rugby, however, the current study highlight for the first time that certain positional groups may require more time to be able to match the movement demands required at a higher playing level than others. Conditioning staff must also bear in mind that the U20s players whilst maintaining or improving match movement capabilities may require to gain substantial mass in some positions to match their senior counterparts.

AB - This study compared the movement demands of elite international Under-20 age grade (U20s) and senior international rugby union players during competitive tournament match play. Forty elite professional players from an U20 and 27 elite professional senior players from international performance squads were monitored using 10Hz global positioning systems (GPS) during 15 (U20s) and 8 (senior) international tournament matches during the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Data on distances, velocities, accelerations, decelerations, high metabolic load (HML) distance and efforts, and number of sprints were derived. Data files from players who played over 60 min (n = 258) were separated firstly into Forwards and Backs, and more specifically into six positional groups; FR-Front Row (prop & hooker), SR-Second Row, BR-Back Row (Flankers & No.8), HB-Half Backs (scrum half & outside half), MF-Midfield (centres), B3 -Back Three (wings & full back) for match analysis. Linear mixed models revealed significant differences between U20 and senior teams in both the forwards and backs. In the forwards the seniors covered greater HML distance (736.4 ± 280.3 vs 701.3 ± 198.7m, p = 0.01) and severe decelerations (2.38 ± 2.2 vs 2.28 ± 1.65, p = 0.05) compared to the U20s, but performed less relative HSR (3.1 ± 1.6 vs 3.2 ± 1.5, p < 0.01), moderate (19.4 ± 10.5 vs 23.6 ± 10.5, p = 0.01) and high accelerations (2.2 ± 1.9 vs 4.3 ± 2.7, p < 0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.11 ± 0.06 vs 0.11 ± 0.05, p < 0.01). Senior backs covered a greater relative distance (73.3 ± 8.1 vs 69.1 ± 7.6 m•min-1, p < 0.01), greater High Metabolic Load (HML) distance (1138.0 ± 233.5 vs 1060.4 ± 218.1m, p < 0.01), HML efforts (112.7 ± 22.2 vs 98.8 ± 21.7, p < 0.01) and heavy decelerations (9.9 ± 4.3 vs 9.5 ± 4.4, p = 0.04) than the U20s backs. However, the U20s backs performed more relative HSR (7.3 ± 2.1 vs 7.2 ± 2.1, p <0.01) and sprint•min-1 (0.26 ± 0.07 vs 0.25 ± 0.07, p < 0.01). Further investigation highlighted differences between the 6 positional groups of the teams. The positional groups that differed the most on the variables measured were the FR and MF groups, with the U20s FR having higher outputs on HSR, moderate & high accelerations, moderate, high & severe decelerations, HML distance, HML efforts, and sprints•min-1. For the MF group the senior players produced greater values for relative distance covered, HSR, moderate decelerations, HML distance and sprint•min-1. The BR position group was most similar with the only differences seen on heavy accelerations (U20s higher) and moderate decelerations (seniors higher). Findings demonstrate that U20s internationals appear to be an adequate 'stepping stone' for preparing players for movement characteristics found senior International rugby, however, the current study highlight for the first time that certain positional groups may require more time to be able to match the movement demands required at a higher playing level than others. Conditioning staff must also bear in mind that the U20s players whilst maintaining or improving match movement capabilities may require to gain substantial mass in some positions to match their senior counterparts.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0164990

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0164990

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - e0164990

JO - PLoS One

JF - PLoS One

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 11

ER -

Cunningham DJ, Shearer DA, Drawer S, Pollard B, Eager R, Taylor N et al. Movement Demands of Elite Under-20s and Senior International Rugby Union Players. PLoS One. 2016;11(11):e0164990. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0164990