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Does perceived wellness influence technical-tactical match performance? A study in youth international rugby using partial least squares correlation analysis.

  • Ramírez-López, Carlos1, 2, 3
  • Till, Kevin1, 4
  • Weaving, Dan1, 4
  • Boyd, Andy5
  • Peeters, Alexis6
  • Beasley, Grant7
  • Bradley, Sam8, 9
  • Giuliano, Pierosario10
  • Venables, Charlie1
  • Jones, Ben1, 3, 4, 11, 12
  • 1 Leeds Beckett University, Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds, UK.
  • 2 Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Union Club, Leeds, UK.
  • 3 England Performance Unit, The Rugby Football League, Leeds, UK.
  • 4 Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club, Leeds, UK.
  • 5 Scottish Rugby Union, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, UK.
  • 6 French Rugby Federation, Centre National de Rugby, Marcoussis, France. , (France)
  • 7 Rugby Football Union, Twickenham Stadium, London, UK.
  • 8 Welsh Rugby Union, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, UK.
  • 9 English Institute of Sport, Manchester, UK.
  • 10 Italian Rugby Federation, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 11 School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 12 Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, the University of Cape Town and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa. , (South Africa)
Published Article
European journal of sport science
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2022
DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2021.1936195
PMID: 34075847


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between matchday wellness status and a technical-tactical performance construct during rugby match-play. One hundred and thirty-three male rugby union players (73 forwards and 60 backs) from five under-18 national squads who participated in the under-18 Six Nations competition completed a subjective wellness questionnaire on each matchday morning. Players subjectively rated each item (sleep quality, fatigue, muscle soreness, stress and mood) on a five-point Likert scale to calculate their daily wellness status (i.e. difference between matchday and baseline perceived wellness). Technical-tactical performance during match-play was quantified by coding individual key performance indicators (e.g. number of carries, number of tackles). Partial least squares correlation analysis (PLSCA) was employed to compute the latent variables of perceived wellness status (X matrix) and technical-tactical performance (Y matrix) for each player observation (n = 271). The latent variables are a construct of each variable group, enabling higher dimensional data to be visualised more simply. Linear mixed-effect models were later conducted to assess the relationships between the latent variables. The effect of perceived wellness status on technical-tactical performance was statistically significant in forwards (p = .042), not statistically significant in backs (p = .120) and accounted for 4.9% and 1.9% variance in the technical-tactical performance construct, respectively. The findings of this study suggest that perceived wellness status can influence technical-tactical match performance, but the practical significance of these findings should be interpreted with caution given the amount of variance in technical-tactical performance accounted by the models.

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