On the basis of the characteristics emerged in the vital and curricular data found in the questionnaire, the athletes were included inside one of the two groups, A and B.Between the two groups (Excellence=Group A, and League=Group B) a number of significant differences emerged.
For example: age, that on average was 23.4±3.5 years (min=17, max=35). Group B was younger: 21.7±3.9 years old vs 24.4±3.0 years (t=2.7, df=47, p<.01). Significant differences were found also for the previous experiences the athletes had: Group A declared to have performed for 3.0±2.0 seasons, while Group B for 1.8±1.1 seasons (t=2.2, df=45, p<.05).
In the whole sample the number of admission in team was 13.6±6.6 (min=0, max=28), while the matches played as first-string were 10.2±6.7 (min=0, max=23). 46.8% of the athletes (n=22) were summoned at or participated in national level matches, while 55.3% of them participated in international official competitions. Group A dedicated on average 755.0±363.6 minutes to training activities for 4.4±0.6 days a week, while the group B devoted 478.2±192.8 minutes for 3.7±0.9 days a week to the same aspect: significant differences emerged both for the commitment in minutes (t=2.9, df=45, p<.01) and days per week (t=3.4, df=45, p<.01).
Differences emerged also for minutes and days spent working out in gym. Group A worked 261±133.3 minutes for 3.2±1.1 days a week vs Group B that was involved for 164.1±119.1 minutes, 2.2±1.8 days a week. Regarding this issue significant differences were found only for the minutes spent in the gym (t=2.3, df=45, p<.05). 72% of the athletes have claimed rugby-related injuries, with no significant differences between the two groups.
Regarding the anthropometric aspects, ponderousness data are interesting, as in the whole sample weight ranged from 63 to 130 Kg (average=98.3±16.1). Between A (weight=103.5±15.3 Kg) and B (89.3±13.6 Kg) groups differences emerged (t=3.2, df=47, p<.01).
This did not happen for stature. Even if in the whole sample the average stature was 183.9±5.7 cm. (min=171, max=194), the A group showed to be 184.5±5.3 cm. tall, while group B 182.9±6.4 cm., with no significant differences between them.
When BMI was calculated, group A showed values of overweight/slight obesity (30.4±4.5), while group B revealed to be slightly overweight (26.6±3.0), with significant differences (t=3.1, df=47, p<.01). Extremely interesting appears to be the genetics-based paper of Heffernan et al. (2017), whose sample of 530 elite rugby players had on average a stature equal to 185.5±0.07 cm., very close to that of our samples.
The weight shown by group A is close to that of the elite athletes reported there (101±14 Kg.), but this does not happen for Group B. The same is valid for BMI, that in that group was equal to 29.4±3.7. By the way, the above-mentioned paper is extremely interesting, as it shows the role of genetics in athletic success.