The relationship between physical qualities and contact technique in academy rugby union players

Steve den Hollander, Michael Lambert, Ben Jones, Sharief Hendricks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between physical qualities and contact technique proficiency in rugby union players. Thirty-eight (n = 38) male academy rugby union players participated in the study. Physical measures of anthropometry, functional mobility, strength endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, and anaerobic and aerobic endurance were assessed. Tackler, ball-carrier, and ruck technique were assessed using video analysis of a standardised two-on-two contact drill. Seven physical qualities were moderately associated with tackler technique; Push-ups (r2 = 0.2; β = 0.04; p = 0.005; ES = 0.26), Sit-ups (r2 = 0.2; β = 0.08; p = 0.004; ES = 0.27), Relative 1RM Bench Press (r2 = 0.2; β = 2.32; p = 0.003; ES = 0.29), Broad Jump (r2 = 0.2; β = 0.03; p = 0.009; ES = 0.22), Agility (r2 = 0.2; β = −0.47; p = 0.019; ES = 0.19), 40m-Speed with Ball (r2 = 0.1; β = 0.93; p = 0.027; ES = 0.16) and Functional Mobility (r2 = 0.2; β = 0.16; p = 0.007; ES = 0.25). There was a large association between ball-carrier technique and Medicine Ball Throw (r2 = 0.3; β = 1.13; p = 0.001; ES = 0.37), and a moderate association between ruck technique and agility without (r2 = 0.2; β = −0.75; p = 0.005; ES = 0.21) and with (r2 = 0.2; β = −0.55; p = 0.015; ES = 0.29) the ball. The findings demonstrate the important contribution of physical strength and conditioning to contact technique in rugby union players. Contact technique training should be accompanied with physical strength and conditioning, as improvements in physical qualities may serve as foundational components to underpin improvements in technique.
Original languageEnglish
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCE & COACHING
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022

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