Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2016) 15, 501 - 508

Research article
Skills Associated with Line Breaks in Elite Rugby Union
Steve den Hollander1, James Brown1,3, Michael Lambert1,3, Paul Treu4, Sharief Hendricks1,2, 
Author Information
1 Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
2 Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Centre for Sport Performance, School of Sport, Fairfax Hall, Headingly Campus, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, LS6 3QS, United Kingdom
3 EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
4 DHL Western Province Rugby Union & DHL Stormers, Cape Town, South Africa

Sharief Hendricks
✉ Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Centre for Sport Performance, School of Sport, Fairfax Hall, Headingley Campus, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, LS6 3QS, United Kingdom
Email: sharief.hendricks01@gmail.com
Publish Date
Received: 16-02-2016
Accepted: 23-05-2016
Published (online): 05-08-2016
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ABSTRACT

The ability of the attacking team to break through the defensive line is a key indicator of success as it creates opportunities to score tries. The aim of this study was to analyse line breaks and identify the associated skills and playing characteristics. The 2013 Super Rugby season (125 games) was analysed, in which 362 line breaks were identified and coded using variables that assessed team patterns and non-contact attacking skills in the phases preceding the line break. There was an average of 3 line breaks per game, with 39% of line breaks resulting in a try. Line breaks occurred when the ball-carrier was running fast [61%, x2(4) = 25.784, p = 0.000, Cramer’s v = 0.1922, weak]. At a moderate distance, short lateral passes (19%) and skip passes (15%) attributed to the highest percentage of line breaks [x2(26) = 50.899, p = 0.036, Cramer’s v = 0.2484, moderate]. Faster defensive line speeds resulted in more line breaks [x2(12) = 61.703, p < 0.001, Cramer’s v = 0.3026, moderate]. Line breaks are associated with overall team success and try scoring opportunities. Awareness of the defenders line speed and depth, fast running speed when receiving the ball and quick passing between attackers to the outside backs creates line break opportunities. During training, coaches should emphasise the movement speed of the ball between attackers and manipulate the speed and distance of the defenders.

Key words: Rugby Union, performance, skill, technique, video analysis


           Key Points
  • Line breaks are associated with overall team success and try scoring opportunities.
  • Awareness of the defenders line speed and depth, fast running speed when receiving the ball and quick passing between attackers to the outside backs creates line break opportunities
  • During training, coaches should emphasise the movement speed of the ball between attackers and manipulate the speed and distance of the defenders.
 
 
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