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African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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An analysis of the fitness demands and the establishment of norms for U-21 South African provincial rugby players

Yoga Coopoo, Amerson N. Govender

Abstract


Most sports loving countries in the world value test and measurements in sport science as the primary route to success in any code of sport. Empirical studies in sport, in the field of fitness evaluation, impact on coaching and development through the application of anthropometrical and physiological testing. This study was aimed at obtaining data on fitness levels of the U-21 South African provincial rugby players so that normative tables could be compiled for the forwards, backs and combined team. This study also provides an insight into the fitness demands of U-21 provincial rugby players on the basis of the two major playing units in a rugby game, namely the forwards and the backs. The test battery evaluated body composition, flexibility, explosive strength, dynamic strength, cardio-respiratory endurance, anaerobic capacity and agility at the beginning of a season. Data from one hundred and twelve players were categorized in three groups: forwards (57), backs (55) and the combined team (112). Means and standard deviations were computed for all tests. The t-test was applied to the means of both the forwards and backs for each test to establish the level of difference. Normative tables have been established for the forwards, backs and the combined team. No significant difference was found between backs, and forwards, except percent body fat, lean body mass and grip strength (p£ 0.05). The fitness demands for backs and forwards appear to be similar suggesting that a single set of norms will suffice for the whole team. The comparison of the two sets of norms for three similar tests indicate that the U-21 provincial norms compare favourably with senior club norms. The implications of the findings on a descriptive basis indicate that the U-21 provincial player is physiologically ready to participate at senior level. With careful guidance and mentoring, and of course, effective training,, the potential lies for participation at national level.

Key words: Field testing, fitness, norms, rugby players.


(Af. J. Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance: 2002 8(1): 61-74)



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