Characteristics of effective ball carries in Super 12 rugby

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This study examined the determinants of effective ball carries in rugby union. Forty-eight games from the 2003 Super 12 season were analysed involving 6 teams including 90 players. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were undertaken on both individual skills and the combination of skills involved in each ball carry. Results indicated that players received the ball most often at cruising speed (41.7%) and ran the ball with moderate intensity (75.8%). The most common Running Pattern was Oblique (63.8%), while the most used Evasion Pattern was a forward step (24.7%). Pearson Chi Square (χ2) analyses showed that players who received the ball at higher speeds, ran with greater intensity, and used either Oblique Running Patterns or a forward step Evasion Pattern, were likely to be successful in the tackle and record positive phase outcomes (p <.001). Mann-Whitney U analyses showed that high ranked teams had higher reception speeds (U = 2584197.5, p =.001) and greater running intensities than low ranked teams (U = 2567508, p <.001). It was concluded that the maintenance of forward momentum, while avoiding contact through effective Running and Evasion Patterns was crucial in determining the effectiveness of ball carries.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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