Applied sport science for male age-grade rugby union in England

Journal article


Till, Kevin, Weakley, Jonathon, Read, Dale B., Phibbs, Padraic, Darrall-Jones, Josh, Roe, Greg, Chantler, Sarah, Mellalieu, Stephen, Hislop, Michael, Stokes, Keith, Rock, Andrew and Jones, Ben. (2020). Applied sport science for male age-grade rugby union in England. Sports Medicine - Open. 6(1), p. Article 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-020-0236-6
AuthorsTill, Kevin, Weakley, Jonathon, Read, Dale B., Phibbs, Padraic, Darrall-Jones, Josh, Roe, Greg, Chantler, Sarah, Mellalieu, Stephen, Hislop, Michael, Stokes, Keith, Rock, Andrew and Jones, Ben
Abstract

Rugby union (RU) is a skill-collision team sport played at junior and senior levels worldwide. Within England, age-grade rugby governs the participation and talent development of youth players. The RU player development pathway has recently been questioned, regarding player performance and well-being, which sport science research can address. The purpose of this review was to summarise and critically appraise the literature in relation to the applied sport science of male age-grade RU players in England focussing upon (1) match-play characteristics, (2) training exposures, (3) physical qualities, (4) fatigue and recovery, (5) nutrition, (6) psychological challenges and development, and (7) injury. Current research evidence suggests that age, playing level and position influence the match-play characteristics of age-grade RU. Training exposures of players are described as ‘organised chaos’ due to the multiple environments and stakeholders involved in coordinating training schedules. Fatigue is apparent up to 72 h post match-play. Well-developed physical qualities are important for player development and injury risk reduction. The nutritional requirements are high due to the energetic costs of collisions. Concerns around the psychological characteristics have also been identified (e.g. perfectionism). Injury risk is an important consideration with prevention strategies available. This review highlights the important multi-disciplinary aspects of sport science for developing age-grade RU players for continued participation and player development. The review describes where some current practices may not be optimal, provides a framework to assist practitioners to effectively prepare age-grade players for the holistic demands of youth RU and considers areas for future research.

Year2020
JournalSports Medicine - Open
Journal citation6 (1), p. Article 14
PublisherSpringerOpen
ISSN2199-1170
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-020-0236-6
PubMed ID32086645
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85081138394
PubMed Central IDPMC7035403
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-20
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 Feb 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted13 Jan 2020
Deposited21 Mar 2022
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