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Percept Mot Skills. 2012 Oct;115(2):594-604.

Differences between experienced and novice Rugby Union players during small-sided games.

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Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health and Human Development (CIDESD), Portugal.


The purpose of this study was to compare physical exertion and game performance indicators of experienced and novice Rugby Union players when playing small-sided games. Forty male players (M age = 21.6 yr., SD = 3.6; M Height = 177.7cm, SD = 7.4; M body mass 81.2 kg, SD = 10.2) participated in eight 6 vs 6 small-sided games over a 4-wk. period, with 12 min. continuous duration in a 60 x 40 m playing area. All players wore GPS units and heart rate belts. No statistically significant differences in the physical exertion measures between experienced and novice players were found. However, the manual notational analysis revealed substantial differences between players in all game performance indicators, with better performance by the experienced players (Passes made ES = 0.5; Tackles made ES = 1.0; Tries ES = 0.5). These results suggest the possibility that specific physical conditioning might be achieved without also achieving technical and tactical excellence.

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