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.
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.
- TAKE HOME MESSAGE
- 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
- KEY RELATED RESEARCH
- 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.”