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The longest journeys in Super Rugby: 11 years of travel and performance indicators.

Authors
  • Lo, Michele1
  • Aughey, Robert J1
  • Hopkins, William G1
  • Gill, Nicholas2, 3
  • Stewart, Andrew M1
  • 1 a Institute for Health and Sport (iHeS) , Victoria University , Melbourne , Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 b Adams Centre for High Performance , University of Waikato , Tauranga , New Zealand. , (New Zealand)
  • 3 c New Zealand Rugby Union , Wellington , New Zealand. , (New Zealand)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Sports Sciences
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
37
Issue
18
Pages
2045–2050
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2019.1618533
PMID: 31109247
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Regular air travel is common in sport. The aim of this study was to understand the extent to which travel has affected Super Rugby teams' performance from 2006, the first season with available Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), to 2016. Data were analysed with mixed linear models for the effects of number of time-zones crossed (east or west), travel duration, the away-match disadvantage, difference in ranking, a set of amendments to the laws of Rugby Union in 2008, a change in competition format (introduction of a conference system) in 2011, and a secular trend. In 2006, the predicted combined effects of travelling 24 h across 12 time-zones and playing away were trivial or small and negative but generally unclear for most of the KPIs in both directions of travel. In 2016 more effects were clear, small and negative for westward travel, while most effects for eastward travel were clear, small to moderate and negative. Most KPIs showed small to moderate increases over the 11 years, while difference in ranking, the introduction of new rules and game format led to mostly small changes. Changes in the physical demands of the game, and inadequate recovery time for long-haul travel can explain these effects.

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