Publication: The Influence of Nationality and Playing Position on Relative Age Effects in Rugby Union

Research Impact: Examining the rosters of representative youth and professional sports teams often reveals a higher than expected number of individuals who were born in the months immediately following the cut-off date for youth sport, termed a relative age effect (RAE). Analysis of dates of birth of 6663 professional rugby union players from four nations (Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa) revealed RAEs in all countries, but most pronounced in South Africa. Playing position did not influence the size of the RAE. The presence of RAEs at senior level is symptomatic of underlying challenges for talent development and youth sport programmes.

Kearney, P., 2018. The influence of nationality and playing position on relative age effects in rugby union: A cross-cultural comparison. South African Journal of Sports Medicine29(1), pp.1-4.

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