A comparison of somatotype between elite and non-elite female rugby union players
University of Wales
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Since Rugby Football Union became professional in 1995 and female rugby has become a growing sport, the demand of greater knowledge about the requirements of the game and the characteristics of the players has increased (Duthie et al., 2003). The aim of the present study is to establish whether there is a significant difference in somatotype between elite and non-elite female Rugby Union players. Ten anthropometric variables of thirty female rugby union players, elite (n=15) and non-elite (n=15) playing standards, were recorded and assessed according to the Heath-Carter method of somatotyping (1990). Descriptive statistics were presented on general characteristics of female rugby union players, and an independent t-test was used to determine whether there were any statistically significant differences (p<0.05) between somatotype as a whole and separate components (endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph) between elite and non-elite female rugby union players. The mean somatotype for the elite population was reported to be 5.3-5.2-1.2 (4.10), and the non-elite population was 5.6-5.4-1.3 (11.89). Both elite and non-elite players presented endomorphy to be dominant and mesomorphy to be greater than ectomorphy, therefore being placed into the mesomorphic endomorph category of the Heath Carter (1990) somatotype category. However no ststistically no significant difference was found between somatotype of the two groups. Although no significant difference was ifentified between elite and non-elite groups previous literature as shown there is usually a significant difference in somatotype in sporting populations and specifically in femalr rugby union playersw (Kirby and Reilly 1993). This suggests that the elite population in this study may not have been of a high enough playing standard.
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