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New Zealand Youth Rugby Sevens: A Comparative Match Demands Study

Abstract
Rugby sevens has established itself on the world stage since its inclusion in the 2016 Olympics. Participation among New Zealand (NZ) youth has surged. Sevens games have specific high demands, but little is known about these competitive demands in regards to youth. Two NZ male youth squads (U15, n = 13; U19, n = 14) were monitored during a national sevens tournament. Microsensor technology captured heart rate (HR) and kinematic performance. The rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was collected for U15 matches only. U19 and U15 players ran 108 ± 11 and 116 ± 13 m·min-1 at an average speed (VAVG) of 6.5 ± 0.6 and 6.9 ± 0.8 km·h-1. Peak speeds (VPEAK) reached 33.7 km·h-1, and high-intensity running distance (HIRD) averaged 252 ± 102 m. U15 (44.3 ± 9.2 game-1) and U19 (39.4 ± 6.1 game-1) showed different sprint rates. U15 covered more moderate-velocity distance (20-80% VMAX) and less low-velocity distance (<20% VMAX). RPE was 13 ± 1 (U15). An average HR of 90.0 ± 3.9% HRMAX was recorded. Upwards of 57% of game time was played at >95% HRMAX. Youth sevens competition is specifically demanding. U15 can experience greater loads than older peers in rugby. Coaches can use this information to optimize players' physical development.
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Journal Article
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Date
2023-03-31
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© 2023 The Authors. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.