Anthropometric and performance characteristics of the German rugby union 7s team

Hohenauer, Erich and Rucker, Alfred Maria Lorenz and Clarys, Peter and Küng, Ursula and Stoop, Rahel and Clijsen, Ron (2017) Anthropometric and performance characteristics of the German rugby union 7s team. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. (In Press)

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BACKGROUND: Somatotyping is advantageous in sports for the optimal development of performance level and injury prevention. The aim of this study was to describe the anthropometric and physical performance characteristics of the German national rugby union 7s team. Seventeen male rugby players, classified as forwards (n=9; 24.2±2.1 years) and backs (n=8; 24.3±5.05 years) were assessed. METHODS: Anthropometric measurements included: body height, weight, height to weight ratio (H/W), five skinfolds, biepicondylar humerus and femur breadth, upper arm- and calf girth, estimated lower body fat percentage and determination of the individual and mean somatotype. The physical performance tests included: sit & reach, handgrip strength, one minute sit-ups, one minute push-ups, vertical jump performance, peak power performance, bent arm hanging, 40-m sprint and the Yoyo intermittent endurance test. RESULTS: The forward players were significantly taller (p=0.003), heavier (p=0.001) with a smaller H/W (p=0.009) compared to the backs. Humerus and femur bone breadths (p<0.05) and flexed upper arm and calf girths (p<0.05) were signficantly different between the groups. Handgrip strength left (p=0.04), one minute sit-ups (p=0.03) and peak power output (p=0.015) were also significantly different between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that German forward and back players have a similar somatotype and performance level. However, a higher body mass of forward players could be advantageous in that their playing position is much more body contact intensive, and requires a significant amount of tackling. The nominative data of this study may assist coaches to detect weak links in rugby specific athletic performance.

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