Category: Match Statistics

Rugby Science Update 1

The impact of matches and travel on rugby players’ sleep, wellness and training

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of trans-meridian travel and matches on the sleep, wellness, and training of players from four Super Rugby teams during the 2017 Super Rugby season. Travel was associated with substantial sleep deprivation for three of the teams when overseas, which can be explained by travel fatigue, jet lag and a disruption of the normal sleep habit (sleeping in a non-familiar environment and sharing room with a team-mate). The findings of this research suggest that players in four Super Rugby players suffer reduced wellness and an overall sleep deficit when they travel overseas. As trans-meridian travel appears to affect players’ sleep, teams should implement strategies such as melatonin supplementation and light exposure to reduce the effect of jet lag. A correct sleep hygiene could also help players in catching up with the sleep loss they may experience throughout the season and following travel. As there was some evidence of substantial individual responses, teams should carefully monitor the sleep of their players with particular attention to those who sleep more than average, as they may suffer more sleep disruption.

Lo, M., Aughey, R. J., Hopkins, W. G., Gill, N., & Stewart, A. M. (2022). The impact of matches and travel on rugby players’ sleep, wellness and training. PloS one, 17(2), e0261517.

Training load, injury burden, and team success in professional rugby union: risk versus reward

The purpose of this study was to establish whether associations among training load, injury burden, and performance exist within rugby. The study found injury burden was negatively associated with performance, whereas training load measures displayed only trivial associations with performance.

West, S. W., Williams, S., Kemp, S., Eager, R., Cross, M. J., & Stokes, K. A. (2020). Training load, injury burden, and team success in professional rugby union: Risk versus reward. Journal of athletic training, 55(9), 960-966.

Physical characteristics of different professional rugby union competition levels

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether differences in physical characteristics (running-related and collision-related) derived from microsensor technology exist between four different professional rugby union competition levels. The study found collisions per minute, Collision Load™ per minute and High Metabolic Load Efforts per minute were all higher during International Rugby and European Rugby Champions Cup match-play, when compared to PRO14 and British and Irish Cup match-play. Distance per minute and High-Speed Running distance per minute were lower during International Rugby and European Rugby Champions Cup match-play, when compared with PRO14 and British and Irish Cup match-play. Our data suggest that rugby union players require specific physical preparation for different levels of competition. In particular, players may need specific preparation for higher collision demands at higher levels of competition.

Tierney, P., Blake, C., & Delahunt, E. (2021). Physical characteristics of different professional rugby union competition levels. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 24(12), 1267-1271.

The Top 15 Rugby Researchers, Journals and Institutions in World

In February 2015, we posted an article “Research in Rugby growing exponentially-Rugby Research’s Top 15” https://rugbyscientists.com/2015/02/20/research-in-rugby-growing-exponentially-rugby-researchs-top-15/. Based on a Scopus search (scopus.com) at the time (February 2015), we illustrated the growth of rugby research and the top rugby researchers and rugby research institutions. Here is the 3-year update (April 2018).

The Search

Before we get into the results, these are the search terms we entered into Scopus. For those unfamiliar with Scopus, it’s a database of peer-reviewed published research. Like any search database, you in type in a search term and it retrieves all the relevant data.

Below are our search terms: –

“Rugby” (will include rugby union, rugby league, rugby, etc)

“Rugby Union” (only rugby union)

My research interest is the tackle in rugby, so I also searched for: –

“Rugby” AND “Tackle”

“Rugby Union” AND “Tackle”

Only research with the above terms in the title, abstract or keywords were retrieved. The search includes all subject areas.

We report the number of articles by year, the top 15 rugby researchers, the top 15 rugby publishing journals, and the top 15 rugby research institutions.

Articles by year for “Rugby”

5031 articles on “rugby” since 1847.

3150 (63%) articles produced in the last 10 years. Average of 315 articles a year. 1338 published since the 2015 post.

Top 15 “Rugby” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby” Research Institutions

Articles by year for “Rugby Union”

1157 “Rugby Union”articles.

864 (75%) over the last 10 years. That’s an average of 86 articles a year. 391 published articles since 2015.

Top 15 “Rugby Union” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby Union” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby Union” Research Institutions

Articles by year for “Rugby” AND “Tackle”

 262 articles on “Rugby” AND “Tackle”. 195 (74%) produced in the last 10 years.

Top 15 “Rugby” AND “Tackle” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby” AND “Tackle” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby” AND “Tackle” Research Institutions

Articles by year for “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle”

 

Top 15 “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle” Publishing Journals

Top 15 “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle” Researchers

Top 15 “Rugby Union” AND “Tackle” Institutions

Let us know your thoughts, drop us a tweet or comment below.

Sharief Hendricks