Article summary: Anthropometry of Australian Rugby League rep players

This week’s article summary is courtesy the Manager of the High Performance Centre of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Justin Durandt.

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Article: Cheng, H. L., O’Connor, H., Kay, S., Cook, R., Parker, H., & Orr, R. (2014). Anthropometric characteristics of Australian junior representative rugby league players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Australia, 17(5), 546–551.

    • There are ethnic differences in body composition among elite junior players. These differences may give Polynesians a performance advantage and explain the high percentage of Polynesians in rugby League.
    • Polynesians exhibited greater height (181.0 ± 5.7 vs. 178.7 ± 6.3 cm), mass (90.6 ± 11.7 vs. 84.7 ± 11.1 kg), arm and calf girths, bone breadths and mesomorphy (7.6 ± 1.2 vs. 6.7 ± 1.1) than non-Polynesians (all p < 0.05)
    • 38% of the players in this cohort were Polynesians but they only make up less than 1% of the population
  • SAMPLE STUDIED (1 SENTENCE):116 junior elite U18 players
    • SPORT: Rugby league
    • LEVEL: Elite
  • LIMITATIONS OF STUDY: Sample size, only measured 166 out of 446 in the league. Low representation in specific positions
    • Malina, R. M. (2009). Ethnicity and biological maturation in sports medicine research. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 19(1), 1–2.
    • Zemski, A. J., Slater, G. J., & Broad, E. M. (2015). Body composition characteristics of elite Australian rugby union athletes according to playing position and ethnicity. Journal of Sports Sciences
      • “Elite Polynesian rugby athletes have different distribution patterns of fat mass and lean mass compared to Caucasians, which may influence their suitability for particular positions”.
    • Krause, L. M., Naughton, G. A., Denny, G., Patton, D., Hartwig, T., & Gabbett, T. J. (2014). Understanding mismatches in body size, speed and power among adolescent rugby union players. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
      • “The notion that bigger, faster, and more powerful characteristics occur simultaneously in adolescent rugby players was not supported in the present study. Current practices in body mass-based criteria for playing down an age group lack a sufficient evidence for decision-making. Dispensation solely based on body mass may not address mismatch in junior rugby union.”



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