Changes in the stature, body mass and age of English professional rugby players: a 10-year review

J Sports Sci. 2013;31(7):795-802. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2012.753156. Epub 2012 Dec 18.


The aim of the study was to evaluate changes in the stature, body mass, age and number of players by playing position in the first team squads of English Premiership rugby union teams from 2002 to 2011. Medical personnel at each club reported the individual data for every first team squad player. The average annual number of players included in the study was 485.2 players per season (standard deviation: 58.0). The mean stature of players in all positions increased in the period 2002 to 2011 but statistically significant trends (P < 0.01) were only observed at fly half and prop. While the mean body mass of players increased in most positions only fly half and back row players showed statistically significant (P < 0.01) upward trends. Apart from second row forwards, the average age of players in all positions decreased but this trend was only significant (P < 0.01) at prop. The numbers of registered players in every position increased but these trends were only significant (P < 0.01) at prop. English Premiership professional rugby players are generally getting taller, heavier and younger but statistically significant changes were limited to fly halves (taller and heavier), props (taller and younger) and back row forwards (heavier).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Height*
  • Body Weight*
  • England
  • Football / trends*
  • Humans