Positional differences in match running performance and physical collisions in men rugby sevens

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014 Mar;9(2):316-23. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2013-0069. Epub 2013 Jul 22.


Purpose: This study describes the physical match demands relative to positional group in male rugby sevens.

Methods: Ten highly trained players were investigated during competitive matches (N = 23) using GPS technology, heart rate (HR), and video recording.

Results: The relative distance covered by the players throughout the match was 102.3 ± 9.8 m/min. As a percentage of total distance, 35.8% (36.6 ± 5.9 m/min) was covered walking, 26.0% (26.6 ± 5.5 m/min) jogging, 10.0% (10.2 ± 2.4 m/min) running at low intensity, 14.2% (14.5 ± 4.0 m/min) at medium intensity, 4.6% (4.7 ± 1.6 m/min) at high intensity, and 9.5% (9.7 ± 3.7 m/min) sprinting. For the backs, a substantial decrease in total distance and distance covered at low, medium, and high intensity was observed in the second half. Forwards exhibited a substantial decrease in the distance covered at medium intensity, high intensity, and sprinting in the 2nd half. Backs covered substantially more total distance at medium and sprinting speeds than forwards. In addition, the maximum length of sprint runs was substantially greater for the backs than forwards. On the contrary, forwards performed more tackles. The mean HR during the match in backs and forwards was similar, with the exception of time spent at HR intensities >90%HRmax, which was substantially higher in forwards.

Conclusion: These findings provide a description of the different physical demands placed on rugby sevens backs and forwards. This information may be helpful in the development of positional and/or individualized physical-fitness training programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Football*
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Running*
  • Time Factors
  • Time and Motion Studies
  • Video Recording