Running Demands of Provincial Women's Rugby Union Matches in New Zealand

J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Apr 1;36(4):1059-1063. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003579.


Busbridge, AR, Hamlin, MJ, Jowsey, JA, Vanner, MH, and Olsen, PD. Running demands of provincial women's rugby union matches in New Zealand. J Strength Cond Res 36(4): 1059-1063, 2022-There has been rapid growth in participation in women's rugby but there is minimal research on the sport. The aim of this study was to increase our knowledge of the running demands of high-level female players in the New Zealand Provincial Rugby Competition. Players (n = 20) wore 10-Hz Global Positioning System units during 7 matches to measure total distance covered, all running distance (≥6.4 km·h-1), high-intensity (HI) running (≥16.1 km·h-1), meters per minute (m·min-1), and maximum speed (km·h-1). Mean ± SD were calculated for forwards and backs. Forwards and backs covered a similar total distance (5,616 ± 809 m and 5,852 ± 1,022 m, respectively) and running distance (3,181 ± 583 m and 3,095 ± 805 m, respectively). However, when separated into specific playing positions, the half back recorded significantly higher running distances (4,292 ± 171 m), greater HI running distances (1,003 ± 58 m), and more distance overall (6,812 ± 277 m) than other positions (p ≤ 0.05). By contrast, outside backs did less running (2,456 ± 114 m) than other positions (p ≤ 0.05), and had the lowest distance for HI running (528 ± 39 m) in the backs. Running demands were similar for forwards and backs; however, within positions there was considerable variation, and the lower running measurements for outside backs maybe unique to women's rugby. Due to these findings and possible different tactical approaches, the development of training and speed zone bands specific to female players is advised because male research findings may lack transferability to women's rugby.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance*
  • Female
  • Football*
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Zealand
  • Rugby