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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 Nov 04

language: English

Physical and physiological differences of backs and forwards from the Brazilian National rugby union team

Fábio Y. NAKAMURA 1, 2, Lucas A. PEREIRA 1, José E. MORAES 3, Ronaldo KOBAL 1, Katia KITAMURA 1, Cesar C. CAL ABAD 1, Luís M. TEIXEIRA VAZ 4, Irineu LOTURCO 1

1 NAR, Nucleus of High Performance in Sport, São Paulo, SP, Brazil; 2 State University of Londrina, Londrina, PR, Brazil; 3 Brazilian Rugby Confederation, São Paulo, SP, Brazil; 4 University Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development (CIDESD), Vila Real, Portugal


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to compare backs and forwards rugby union players recruited to a National team in the following physical and physiological indicators: anthropometrics, squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), 10- and 30-m sprint, resting heart rate variability (HRV), Yo-Yo test and heart rate (HR) at 2-min of test.
METHODS: The measurements were performed on the first day of a training camp planned to finely select the players who would participate in the 2016 America’s Rugby Championship. The magnitude-based inference was used in the comparisons.
RESULTS: Backs demonstrated almost certainly greater distance in the Yo-Yo test backs: 2305.9 ± 231.3 m; forwards: 1802.4 ± 361.2 m), higher vertical jump height in both SJ and CMJ (SJ: 44.0 ± 5.3 cm vs. 37.6 ± 5.4 cm; CMJ: 46.1 ± 5.0 cm vs. 40.0 ± 5.5 cm, for backs and forwards respectively), and superior sprint velocity in 10- and 30-m (10- m: 6.02 ± 0.23 m.s-1 vs. 5.51 ± 0.34 m.s-1; 30-m: 7.46 ± 0.25 m.s-1 vs. 6.89 ± 0.37 m.s-1, for backs and forwards respectively) than the forwards. In contrast, forwards were almost certainly taller and heavier than backs, and displayed higher sprint momentum in 10- and 30-m (10-m: 513.0 ± 51.6 kg.m.s-1 vs. 598.4 ± 53.1 kg.m.s-1; 30-m: 635.3 ± 56.1 kg.m.s-1 vs. 749.0 ± 70.5 kg.m.s-1, for backs and forwards respectively). The submaximal HR in the first 2-min of the Yo-Yo test was likely lower in the backs than in the forwards (77.6 ± 5.1% of the maximal HR vs. 81.3 ± 5.4% of the maximal HR for backs and forwards respectively), while HRV indices were not different between backs and forwards.
CONCLUSIONS: Playing position appears to be determined by the players’ physical and physiological characteristics in top-level rugby union, and the sub maximal HR measured during Yo-Yo test can be a simple alternative to discriminate backs and forwards.

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