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Article

Physical and Fitness Characteristics of Elite Professional Rugby Union Players

1
Faculty of Health, Education and Environment, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Tauranga 3112, New Zealand
2
Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, The University of Waikato, Hamilton 3216, New Zealand
3
New Zealand Rugby Union, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
4
School of Applied and Social Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton 4701, Australia
5
School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 0627, New Zealand
6
School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport, La Trobe University, Melbourne 3086, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2020, 8(6), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8060085
Received: 13 May 2020 / Revised: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 2 June 2020 / Published: 5 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Performance in Team Sports)
This study explored the physical and fitness characteristics of elite professional rugby union players and examined the relationships between these characteristics within forwards and backs. Thirty-nine elite professional rugby union players from the New Zealand Super Rugby Championship participated in this study. Body composition was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry alongside anthropometrics. Fitness characteristics included various strength, power, speed, and aerobic fitness measures. Forwards were significantly (p ≤ 0.01) taller and heavier than backs, and possessed greater lean mass, fat mass, fat percentage, bone mass, and skinfolds. Forwards demonstrated greater strength and absolute power measures than backs (p = 0.02), but were slower and possessed less aerobic fitness (p ≤ 0.01). Skinfolds demonstrated very large correlations with relative power (r = −0.84) and speed (r = 0.75) measures within forwards, while backs demonstrated large correlations between skinfolds and aerobic fitness (r = −0.54). Fat mass and fat percentage demonstrated very large correlations with speed (r = 0.71) and aerobic fitness (r = −0.70) measures within forwards. Skinfolds, fat mass, and fat percentage relate strongly to key fitness characteristics required for elite professional rugby union performance. Individual and positional monitoring is important due to the clear differences between positions. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropometrics; body composition; strength; speed; power; aerobic fitness anthropometrics; body composition; strength; speed; power; aerobic fitness
MDPI and ACS Style

Posthumus, L.; Macgregor, C.; Winwood, P.; Darry, K.; Driller, M.; Gill, N. Physical and Fitness Characteristics of Elite Professional Rugby Union Players. Sports 2020, 8, 85. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8060085

AMA Style

Posthumus L, Macgregor C, Winwood P, Darry K, Driller M, Gill N. Physical and Fitness Characteristics of Elite Professional Rugby Union Players. Sports. 2020; 8(6):85. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8060085

Chicago/Turabian Style

Posthumus, Logan, Campbell Macgregor, Paul Winwood, Katrina Darry, Matthew Driller, and Nicholas Gill. 2020. "Physical and Fitness Characteristics of Elite Professional Rugby Union Players" Sports 8, no. 6: 85. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8060085

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