SPRINT joins rugby's tilt at World Cup and Olympic success

Fast, fit and mobile are the pillars of a Rugby Australia partnership with Australian Catholic University designed to drive national teams towards Olympic Games and World Cup success.

New world-leading physical benchmarks have been set for Australia’s men’s and women’s players who will be tested as part of an alliance with ACU’s Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre.

Rugby Australia National Head of Athletic Performance Dean Benton will oversee the forward-thinking initiative, with SPRINT researcher Dr Grant Duthie to put the Wallabies, Wallaroos, national rugby sevens teams, Super Rugby players and academy squads under the microscope.

“Having Grant’s expertise as sport scientist has been extremely beneficial. It has allowed us to comprehensively assess both men’s and women’s sevens programs as part of their Olympic preparations and Super Rugby franchises ahead of the 2021 Super Rugby AU competition,” Mr Benton said.

As the speed of international matches quicken, players must evolve to meet the increasing demands. Greater mobility is just one quality that will be a key for players to succeed on the world stage and testing yardsticks have been set to keep players and coaches accountable.

National physical performance testing will assist national coaches:

  • as a means of predicting individual and team performance
  • to assess short-term and long training adaptations
  • implement an objective means to provide specific and individualised training programs and training goals
  • identify talent and select teams
  • appraise the performance of different training centres within the Australian system and,
  • to evaluate the cause and effect relationships with each quadrennial Rugby World Cup cycle

Dr Duthie is an expert on strength and conditioning and GPS tracking and previously worked as a sport science consultant to Japan’s national rugby sevens program. The senior lecturer has also worked for the South Sydney and Newcastle NRL clubs.

He will use a series of standardised tests to assess players for leg power, reactive strength ability and speed. The high intensity Yo-Yo test, a multi-stage shuttle run between two markers placed 20 metres apart, will measure their endurance.

“It allows the coaches and higher performance staff to profile each of the players based on their position,” Dr Duthie said. “From that they can work out the players’ strengths and weaknesses and modify their training programs so they can work on the things they need to improve.”

(SPRINT) Research Centre in the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences aims to advance knowledge in sports performance, recovery, and injury by developing new, and using established, research techniques.

SPRINT conducts multi-disciplinary, cutting edge research using world-leading laboratories in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, strengthened by our national and international collaborators.

Images available on request.

Dr Duthie is available for interview.

Media Contact: Damien Stannard, 0484387349, damien.stannard@acu.edu.au


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