Talent Identification in an English Premiership Rugby Union Academy: Multidisciplinary Characteristics of Selected and Non-selected Male Under-15 Players

Dimundo, Francesco and Cole, Matthew and Blagrove, Richard C. and McAuley, Alexander B. T. and Till, Kevin and Kelly, Adam L. (2021) Talent Identification in an English Premiership Rugby Union Academy: Multidisciplinary Characteristics of Selected and Non-selected Male Under-15 Players. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 3. p. 688143. ISSN 2624-9367

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Entry into an academy can be a defining moment for a promising young player. The aim of this study was to explore the multidimensional characteristics that differentiated selected and non-selected male under-15 rugby union players at an English Premiership academy. Seventy-four players (mean age 14.6 ± 0.3 years: selected n = 29; non-selected n = 45) were measured across nine characteristics from four overarching factors: (a) anthropometric (n = 2), (b) physiological (n = 5), (c) cognitive (n = 1), and (d) birth quartile. An ANOVA compared differences between groups (selected vs. non-selected), whilst a Welch's t-test and Cohen's d were used for further comparisons. A multivariate logistic regression was also used to predict selection. Results showed significant differences between selected and non-selected players for anthropometric (P = 0.021) and physiological factors (P < 0.001). Moreover, relatively older players were overrepresented with 65% born in the first half of the year, whereas no significant differences were apparent for the cognitive test. More specifically, selected players possessed greater body mass (P = 0.022, d = 0.5) and handgrip strength (P = 0.020, d = 0.5) compared to non-selected players, whilst multivariate analysis showed the 20 m sprint explained 25.4% of the variance (P = 0.001). Overall, it appears selection into an English Premiership rugby union academy may be due to enhanced physical attributes rather than cognitive abilities.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Frontiers via Jisc Publications Router ** History: collection 2021; received 30-03-2021; accepted 17-05-2021; epub 11-06-2021. ** Licence for this article: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2021.688143
17 May 2021Accepted
11 June 2021Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sports and Active Living, talent development, Rugby Football Union, expertise, talent identification, selection, athlete development, LtAD
Subjects: CAH03 - biological and sport sciences > CAH03-02 - sport and exercise sciences > CAH03-02-01 - sport and exercise sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Life and Sport Sciences (C-LASS)
SWORD Depositor: JISC PubRouter
Depositing User: JISC PubRouter
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2021 09:35
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 11:36
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11829

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