Exposure time, running and skill-related performance in international u20 rugby union players during an intensified tournament

Carling, C. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7456-3493, Lacome, M., Flanagan, E., O’Doherty, P., and Piscione, J. (2017) Exposure time, running and skill-related performance in international u20 rugby union players during an intensified tournament. PLOS ONE, 12 (11). e0186874.

[thumbnail of Version of Record]
PDF (Version of Record) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186874


Purpose This study investigated exposure time, running and skill-related performance in two international u20 rugby union teams during an intensified tournament: the 2015 Junior World Rugby Championship. Method Both teams played 5 matches in 19 days. Analyses were conducted using global positioning system (GPS) tracking (Viper 2™, Statsports Technologies Ltd) and event coding (Opta Pro®). Results Of the 62 players monitored, 36 (57.1%) participated in 4 matches and 23 (36.5%) in all 5 matches while player availability for selection was 88%. Analyses of team running output (all players completing >60-min play) showed that the total and peak 5-minute high metabolic load distances covered were likely-to-very likely moderately higher in the final match compared to matches 1 and 2 in back and forward players. In individual players with the highest match-play exposure (participation in >75% of total competition playing time and >75-min in each of the final 3 matches), comparisons of performance in matches 4 and 5 versus match 3 (three most important matches) reported moderate-to-large decreases in total and high metabolic load distance in backs while similar magnitude reductions occurred in high-speed distance in forwards. In contrast, skill-related performance was unchanged, albeit with trivial and unclear changes, while there were no alterations in either total or high-speed running distance covered at the end of matches. Conclusions These findings suggest that despite high availability for selection, players were not over-exposed to match-play during an intensified u20 international tournament. They also imply that the teams coped with the running and skill-related demands. Similarly, individual players with the highest exposure to match-play were also able to maintain skill-related performance and end-match running output (despite an overall reduction in the latter). These results support the need for player rotation and monitoring of performance, recovery and intervention strategies during intensified tournaments.

Repository Staff Only: item control page