The aim of this study was to compare the anthropometric characteristics and physical capacities (vertical jumping, speed, agility, and endurance abilities) among different age -categories of Brazilian rugby players from the same high-level club and to compare their respective data with those obtained by the national team players. Eighty-eight male Brazilian rugby players from four different age categories were divided into four different groups (i.e., U-15, U-17, U-19, and professional senior team [PRO]) and a group composed of players from the Brazilian national team (NAT). Anthropometric measures (i.e., height and body mass), squat jump and countermovement jump tests (SJ and CMJ), two agility tests (COD and Pro-agility), 40m sprinting, and the Yo-Yo endurance test level 1 were compared among the groups using analysis of covariance (multi-variables MANCOVA) with the body mass as a covariate. The NAT group demonstrated significantly greater performances in all variables compared to the U-15, U-17, U-19, and PRO groups (P < 0.05). Moreover, the PRO group demonstrated better performances in vertical jumping assessments (i.e., SJ and CMJ) and agility tests (i.e., COD and Pro-agility) than the younger categories (P < 0.05). Finally, except for the U-15, no significant differences were found between the young age-categories in sprint and endurance capacities. These findings show that, throughout the maturation process, rugby players improve their muscle power and agility abilities, without presenting significant increases in endurance and sprinting capacities. Importantly, this does not hold true for players from the NAT group, who presented superior performance in all assessed physical variables (in comparison to the younger and PRO categories).
Fonte: The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, in press