The ball in play demands of international rugby union

Pollard, Benjamin T., Turner, Anthony N. ORCID logoORCID:, Eager, Robin, Cunningham, Daniel J., Cook, Christian J., Hogben, Patrick and Kilduff, Liam P. (2018) The ball in play demands of international rugby union. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 21 (10) . pp. 1090-1094. ISSN 1440-2440 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2018.02.015)

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0.

Download (283kB) | Preview


Objectives: Rugby union is a high intensity intermittent sport, typically analysed via set time periods or rolling average methods. This study reports the demands of international rugby union via global positioning system (GPS) metrics expressed as mean ball in play (BiP), maximum BiP (max BiP), and whole match outputs.
Design: Single cohort cross sectional study involving 22 international players, categorised as forwards and backs.
Methods: A total of 88 GPS files from eight international test matches were collected during 2016. An Opta sportscode timeline was integrated into the GPS software to split the data into BiP periods. Metres per min (m.min-1), high metabolic load per min (HML), accelerations per min (Acc), high speed running per min (HSR), and collisions per min (Coll) were expressed relative to BiP periods and over the whole match (>60min).
Results: Whole match metrics were significantly lower than all BiP metrics (p < 0.001). Mean and max BiP HML, (p < 0.01) and HSR (p < 0.05) were significantly higher for backs versus forwards, whereas Coll were significantly higher for forwards (p < 0.001). In plays lasting 61s or greater, max BiP m.min-1 were higher for backs. Max BiP m.min-1, HML, HSR and Coll were all time dependant (p < 0.05) showing that both movement metrics and collision demands differ as length of play continues.
Conclusions: This study uses a novel method of accurately assessing the BiP demands of rugby union. It also reports typical and maximal demands of international rugby union that can be used by practitioners and scientists to target training of worst-case scenario's equivalent to international intensity. Backs covered greater distances at higher speeds and demonstrated higher HML, in general play as well as 'worst case scenarios'; conversely forwards perform a higher number of collisions.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > London Sport Institute > Strength and Conditioning at the London Sport Institute
Item ID: 23624
Notes on copyright: © 2018. This author's accepted manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Anthony Turner
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2018 12:52
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.