The Influence of Fatigue in Rugby League Players: Comparing College and Club Competitions
Smart, R; Spencer, K
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Few studies have considered the impact of varying match duration on injury rate and physiological demands in junior rugby league. 42 male junior rugby players from school (n = 24; age M = 16.46, SD = 0.83 years) and club level (n = 18; age M = 17.2, SD = 0.55 years) rugby were filmed in 10 competitive matches and analysed using Sportscode Elite (V10, Hudl, USA). The school matches were 30mins less than club matches in duration. Data was standardised for duration for each variable. Differences between level were analysed using t-tests. Significant differences occurred in ball carries (p <0.001), injury frequency (p = 0.029), passes (p = 0.0004) and tackles (p = 0.006) with club players experiencing relatively greater scores on each measure. The majority of injuries occurred in the second half regardless of level (71% school, 73% club). In school rugby 43% of injuries were sustained by the tackling player, whereas in club junior rugby 46% of injuries were sustained by the tackled player. The injury rate (per 1000 hours) was greatest in the junior club level. The results show a difference in the demands on junior players determined by level.