Sunday, 11 October 2015

Warriors boosted by the appliance of science

Science is now a core element of elite level sport, helping athletes maximise their potential and perform to the very best of their abilities.

Wigan Warriors' march to the First Utility Super League Grand Final 2015 against Leeds Rhinos was backed by one of the sport's most innovative Sports Science departments, with their staff leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of success.

Mark Quinn, Warriors' Head of Sports Science and Analytics, is currently a PhD student at UCLan SENS and has recently completed extensive research into top class Rugby League.

The unique study looked at the physical demands of the World Club Challenge (WCC), comparing the differences between the Northern and Southern hemisphere competitions.

In recent years the Australian and New Zealand international teams have dominated their European rivals, while this season saw all three Super League teams lose to their NRL counterparts in the WCC.

By analysing player activity during the competition, the study found the WCC game produced more high speed sprints plus an increased number of accelerations and decelerations, and that when the values were analysed per minute of time the ball was in play these were accentuated, showing that the WCC game was played at a higher intensity than regular Super League games.

Whilst highlighting clear differences between the NRL and Super League competitions, the research also showed that finals are very physically demanding in comparison to regular season games - something the Warriors and Rhinos players showcased in abundance during this year's Grand Final.

The study, which will be Mark's first published paper, will appear in the December edition of the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport.

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