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To examine the nature and frequency of rugby league repeated high-intensity-effort (RHIE) activity in relation to tries scored and conceded in successful and unsuccessful teams.
185 semiprofessional rugby league players (mean ± SD age 23.7 ± 3.2 y) from 11 teams.
Global positioning system (GPS) data were collected during 21 matches and analyzed for the total number of RHIE bouts, efforts per bout, duration of efforts, and recovery between efforts. Using notational analysis, a RHIE-bout frequency distribution, representing 0–60 s, 61–120 s, 121–180 s, 181–240 s, and 241–300 s before scoring and conceding a try, was established.
Over 50% of RHIE bouts occurred within 5 min of a try. Bottom-4 teams performed a greater proportion of bouts within 5 min of a try than top-4 teams (61.5% vs 48.2%, effect size, ES = 0.69 ± 0.28, P = .0001). Top-4 teams performed a greater number of RHIE bouts per conceded try (3.0 ± 2.1 vs 1.6 ± 0.7, ES = 0.74 ± 0.51, P < .05), while bottom-4 teams performed a greater number of RHIE bouts per try scored (3.6 ± 2.5 vs 2.1 ± 1.7, ES = 0.70 ± 0.71, P = .10).
The majority of rugby league RHIE bouts occur at critical periods during match play. Successful rugby league teams perform more RHIE bouts before conceding tries, while unsuccessful teams perform more bouts before scoring tries. These findings demonstrate that unsuccessful teams are required to work harder to score tries while successful teams work harder to prevent tries.
The authors are with the School of Exercise Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia.