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Brian Cunniffe, Kevin A. Morgan, Julien S. Baker, Marco Cardinale and Bruce Davies

This study evaluated the effect of game venue and starting status on precompetitive psychophysiological measures in elite rugby union. Saliva samples were taken from players (starting XV, n = 15, and nonstarters, n = 9) on a control day and 90 min before 4 games played consecutively at home and away venues against local rivals and league leaders. Precompetition psychological states were assessed using the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory−2. The squad recorded 2 wins (home) and 2 losses (away) over the study period. Calculated effect sizes (ESs) showed higher pregame cortisol- (C) and testosterone- (T) difference values before all games than on a baseline control day (ES 0.7−1.5). Similar findings were observed for cognitive and somatic anxiety. Small between-venues C differences were observed in starting XV players (ES 0.2−0.25). Conversely, lower home T- (ES 0.95) and higher away C- (ES 0.6) difference values were observed in nonstarters. Lower T-difference values were apparent in nonstarters (vs starting XV) before home games, providing evidence of a between-groups effect (ES 0.92). Findings show an anticipatory rise in psychophysiological variables before competition. Knowledge of starting status appears a moderating factor in the magnitude of player endocrine response between home and away games.

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Jonathon J.S. Weakley, Dale B. Read, Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Carlos Ramirez-Lopez, Ben Jones, Cloe Cummins and John A. Sampson

Small-sided games (SSGs) are commonly used as a tool for training team-sport athletes. 1 Amateur and professional athletes 2 across a wide range of football codes (eg, soccer, 3 rugby union, 4 and rugby league 5 ) use SSGs, as they can develop multiple facets (eg, physical, technical, and

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Marcos de Noronha, Eleisha K. Lay, Madelyn R. Mcphee, George Mnatzaganian and Guilherme S. Nunes

of exposure Total Ankle sprains occurrence by match time Fuller et al 22 Rugby 941 19.0 (0.6) 4 tournaments 166 team matches 25 First quarter: 1 Second quarter: 8 Third quarter: 11 Fourth quarter: 5 Sankey et al 23 Rugby 546 NR 2 seasons 210 matches 70 First quarter: 10 Second quarter: 22 Third

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François Rodrigue, Pierre Trudel and Jennifer Boyd

facilitation and report outcomes are lacking ( Picknell, Cropley, Hanton, & Mellalieu, 2014 ). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to extend the work of Milistetd et al. ( 2018 ) by documenting and assessing the value of a 12-month NCC involving a female HP rugby coach and a PLC. Specifically, the

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Paul A. Sellars, Stephen D. Mellalieu and Camilla J. Knight

that of adolescence ( Stambulova, 2012 ). Reflecting these concerns, rugby union in Wales has experienced reduced levels of participation in adolescent age groups (cf. Welsh Rugby Union, 2014 ). The importance of rugby to Wales as a nation is ever present, and therefore continued participation and

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Mitchell J. Henderson, Job Fransen, Jed J. McGrath, Simon K. Harries, Nick Poulos and Aaron J. Coutts

Rugby sevens performance is multifactorial and involves physical, technical, and tactical components. With the increased availability of athlete-tracking microtechnologies and load-monitoring tools such as global positioning systems and microelectrical mechanical systems, 1 professional field

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Christopher M. McLeod and Calvin Nite

conflict, uncertainty, and change when sports are commercialized. For example, in their study of the professionalization of English rugby, O’Brien and Slack (2004) found that financially troubled, uncertain clubs replaced their amateur values with ideas copied from other organizations. Then, as clubs

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Mark Russell, Aden King, Richard. M. Bracken, Christian. J. Cook, Thibault Giroud and Liam. P. Kilduff


To assess the effects of different modes of morning (AM) exercise on afternoon (PM) performance and salivary hormone responses in professional rugby union players.


On 4 occasions (randomized, crossover design), 15 professional rugby players provided AM (~8 AM) and PM (~2 PM) saliva samples before PM assessments of countermovement-jump height, reaction time, and repeated-sprint ability. Control (passive rest), weights (bench press: 5 × 10 repetitions, 75% 1-repetition maximum, 90-s intraset recovery), cycling (6 × 6-s maximal sprint cycling, 7.5% body mass load, 54-s intraset recovery), and running (6 × 40-m maximal sprints, 20-s intraset recovery) interventions preceded (~5 h) PM testing.


PM sprint performance improved (P < .05) after weights (>0.15 ± 0.19 s, >2.04% ± 2.46%) and running (>0.15 ± 0.17 s, >2.12% ± 2.22%) but not cycling (P > .05). PM jump height increased after cycling (0.012 ± 0.009 m, 2.31% ± 1.76%, P < .001) and running (0.020 ± 0.009 m, 3.90% ± 1.79%, P < .001) but not weights (P = .936). Reaction time remained unchanged between trials (P = .379). Relative to control (131 ± 21 pg/mL), PM testosterone was greater in weights (21 ± 23 pg/mL, 17% ± 18%, P = .002) and running (28 ± 26 pg/mL, 22% ± 20%, P = .001) but not cycling (P = .072). Salivary cortisol was unaffected by AM exercise (P = .540).


All modes of AM exercise improved at least 1 marker of PM performance, but running appeared the most beneficial to professional rugby union players. A rationale therefore exists for preceding PM competition with AM exercise.

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Katherine Elizabeth Black, Alistair David Black and Dane Frances Baker

Worldwide 120 countries are affiliated to the rugby union, and rugby is thought to be played by ∼7 million people ( Rugby World, 2017 ). The two major club competitions are “Super Rugby” played in the Southern Hemisphere, with teams from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, and Argentina

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Ralph Maddison and Harry Prapavessis

Two interrelated studies examined the role psychological factors play in the prediction and prevention of sport related injury. Study 1 involved 470 rugby players who completed measures corresponding to variables in the revised Williams and Andersen (1998) stress and injury model at the beginning of the 2001 playing season. Prospective and objective data were obtained for both the number of injuries and the time missed. Results showed that social support, the type of coping, and previous injury interacted in a conjunctive fashion to maximize the relationship between life stress and injury. Study 2 examined the effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) intervention in reducing injury among athletes from Study 1 who were identified as having an at-risk psychological profile for injury. Forty-eight players were randomly assigned to either a CBSM intervention or a no-contact control condition. Participants completed psychological measures of coping and competitive anxiety at the beginning and end of the 2002 rugby season. The assessment of injury was identical to that used in Study 1. Results showed that those in the intervention condition reported missing less time due to injury compared to their nonintervention counterparts. The intervention group also had an increase in coping resources and a decrease in worry following the program. Taken together, both studies underscore the importance of (a) psychosocial factors in identifying those athletes most vulnerable to injury and (b) cognitive behavioral stress management programs in reducing the vulnerability to injury.