Hormonal responses to a rugby match: a brief review

Maamer Slimani, Foued Cheour, Wassim Moalla, Julien Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
151 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Rugby is an intermittent team sport, commonly stressing the endocrine system by physiological efforts. However, no review has synthesized the available literature on the hormonal responses to a rugby match. The purpose of this review was to examine the hormonal responses to a rugby match. Mediator and moderator variables for the rugby match­ hormonal responses relationship were also discussed.

METHODS: The systematic search was conducted using different databases and according to the Population/Intervention or Exposure/Comparison/Outcome(s) [PICO] criteria.

RESULTS: The data obtained in the present review shows that match contests were the moderator variable between rugby match­ testosterone changes relationship. Particularly, official matches decreased pre­to­post testosterone levels by 43.9%, while simulated matches increased pre­to­post testosterone levels by 33.6%. There were no significant differences between official and simulated contests for the cortisol response to a rugby match which could be explained in part by the small numbers of included studies and participants (71 high­level male players). Thus, it has been shown that a rugby match provides considerable stress to the endocrine system, which lasts up 38­48 h into the recovery period.

CONCLUSIONS: The hormonal assessment of rugby players is a valid tool for monitoring stress during a rugby match and provides the opportunity to identify how athletes cope with stress induced by a competition. The information also provides potential for various mental/recovery strategies that may contribute to performance enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2017


  • Psychophysiology
  • Football
  • Hormones


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