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The movement and physiological demands of international and regional men's touch rugby matchesBeaven, Robert; Highton, Jamie M.; Thorpe, Cari; Knott, Emma; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University; Huddersfield University (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2014-05-14)This study compared the internal and external match demands imposed on international and regional standard male touch rugby players. The study adopted a cohort design with independent groups. Twelve international players (mean age 27.8 ± 6.2 y, body mass 72.8 ± 3.7 kg, stature 174.5 ± 5.4 cm) and nine regional players (mean age 25.5 ± 5.5 y, body mass 74.2 ± 7 kg, stature 174.1 ± 7 cm) were analysed during nine competitive matches from the 2013 season. Movement demands were measured using a 5 Hz global positioning system (GPS), alongside heart rate and session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) to quantify internal load. Total distance covered by international players was lower than regional players (2265.8 ± 562.3 cf. 2970 ± 558.9 m, p<0.05). However, international players had greater relative distance (137.1 ± 13.6 cf. 126.2 ± 17.2 m·min) due to shorter playing times per match (p<0.05). Absolute high speed running (>14 km·h) was not different between groups (p>0.05), but relative high speed running (39.3 ± 12.0 cf. 26.0 ± 13.6 m·min) was higher for international players. Regional players performed more absolute low speed activity (≤14 km·h) than international players (p<0.05), whereas relative low speed activity was not different between groups (p>0.05). Very high speed running (>20 km·h) distance, bout number and frequency, peak and average speed were all greater in international players (p<0.05). Higher average heart rate, summated heart rate and s-RPE (p<0.05) indicated higher internal loads during matches for regional players. These data indicate that performance in men's touch rugby is characterised by more relative high speed running and better repeated sprint capacities in higher standard players.