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Match Running Performance and Exercise Intensity in Elite Female Rugby Sevens

Suarez-Arrones, Luis1,2; Nuñez, Francisco J.1,2; Portillo, Javier3,4; Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto5

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 7 - p 1858–1862
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318238ea3e
Original Research

Abstract: Suarez-Arrones, L, Nuñez, FJ, Portillo, J, and Mendez-Villanueva, A. Match running performance and exercise intensity in elite female rugby sevens. J Strength Cond Res 26(7): 1858–1862, 2012—The purpose of this study was to describe the match-play demands of professional female rugby players competing in Rugby Sevens (Rugby 7's) matches. Time-motion analyses (global position system) were performed on 12 elite female rugby players during 5 competitive matches in a 2-day international tournament. Data revealed that players covered an average distance of 1,556.2 ± 189.3 m per game (14 minutes). Over this distance, 29.7% (462.6 ± 94.6 m) was spent standing and walking, 33.2% (515.9 ± 88.6 m) jogging, 11.6% (181.0 ± 61.4 m) cruising, 16.4% (255.7 ± 88.3 m) striding, 3.7% (57.1 ± 40.8 m) high-intensity running, and 5.4% (84.0 ± 64.8 m) sprinting. The average maximal distance of sprints, number of sprints, minimum distance of sprint, and mean sprint distance over the game were as follows: 25.8 ± 16.1 m, 5.3 ± 3.2 sprints, 6.5 ± 2.0 m, and 17.2 ± 8.8 m, respectively. The players' work-to-rest ratio was 1:0.4. For over 75% of the game, the players were exposed to heart rates (HRs) >80% of their maximal HR. There were no statistical differences between the first and second halves in any of the variables analyzed. This study suggests that the physical demands of Rugby 7's are quite different from those reported in other rugby codes. For players and teams to remain competitive in female Rugby Sevens, coaching, conditioning, and physical fitness testing should reflect these current demands.

1Faculty of Sport Sciences, Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain

2Sport Science Department, VFsport, Sevilla, Spain

3Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, Spain

4Spanish Rugby Federation, Madrid, Spain

5Physiology Unit, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar

Address correspondence to Alberto Mendez-Villanueva,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association