Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $112.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $149.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $213.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $284.00

Purpose: To quantify the frequencies and timings of rugby union match-play phases (ie, attacking, defending, ball in play [BIP], and ball out of play [BOP]) and then compare the physical characteristics of attacking, defending, and BOP between forwards and backs. Methods: Data were analyzed from 59 male rugby union academy players (259 observations). Each player wore a microtechnology device (OptimEye S5; Catapult, Melbourne, Australia) with video footage analyzed for phase timings and frequencies. Dependent variables were analyzed using a linear mixed-effects model and assessed with magnitude-based inferences and Cohen d effect sizes (ES). Results: Attack, defense, BIP, and BOP times were 12.7 (3.1), 14.7 (2.5), 27.4 (2.9), and 47.4 (4.1) min, respectively. Mean attack (26 [17] s), defense (26 [18] s), and BIP (33 [24] s) phases were shorter than BOP phases (59 [33] s). The relative distance in attacking phases was similar (112.2 [48.4] vs 114.6 [52.3] m·min−1, ES = 0.00 ± 0.23) between forwards and backs but greater in forwards (114.5 [52.7] vs 109.0 [54.8] m·min−1, ES = 0.32 ± 0.23) during defense and greater in backs during BOP (ES = −0.66 ± 0.23). Conclusions: Total time in attack, defense, and therefore BIP was less than BOP. Relative distance was greater in forwards during defense, whereas it was greater in backs during BOP and similar between positions during attack. Players should be exposed to training intensities from in-play phases (ie, attack and defense) rather than whole-match data and practice technical skills during these intensities.

Read, Jones, Phibbs, Darrall-Jones, Roe, Weakley, and Till are with the Inst for Sport, Physical Activity & Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, and Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Union Football Club, Leeds, United Kingdom. Jones is also with Rugby Football League, Leeds, United Kingdom. Williams is with the Dept for Health, University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom. Rock is with Bath Rugby Club, Bath, United Kingdom.

Read (d.read@leedsbeckett.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Deutsch M, Maw G, Jenkins D, Reaburn P. Heart rate, blood lactate and kinematic data of elite colts (under-19) rugby union players during competition. J Sports Sci. 1998;16(6):561570. PubMed ID: 9756260 doi:10.1080/026404198366524

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Read D, Jones B, Phibbs P, et al. The physical characteristics of match-play in English schoolboy and academy rugby union. J Sports Sci. 2018;36(6):645650. PubMed ID: 28514202 doi:10.1080/02640414.2017.1329546

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Cunningham D, Shearer D, Drawer S, et al. Movement demands of elite U20 international rugby union players. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(4):0153275. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0153275

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Read D, Jones B, Phibbs P, et al. Physical demands of representative match-play in adolescent rugby union. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(5):12901296. PubMed ID: 27548792 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001600

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Read D, Weaving D, Phibbs P, et al. Movement and physical demands of school and university rugby union match-play in England. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2017;2(1):e000147. PubMed ID: 28879027 doi:10.1136/bmjsem-2016-000147

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Cahill N, Lamb K, Worsfold P, Headey R, Murray S. The movement characteristics of English premiership rugby union players. J Sports Sci. 2013;31(3):229237. PubMed ID: 23009129 doi:10.1080/02640414.2012.727456

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Lindsay A, Draper N, Lewis J, Gieseg SP, Gill N. Positional demands of professional rugby. Eur J Sport Sci. 2015;15(6):480487. PubMed ID: 25830235 doi:10.1080/17461391.2015.1025858

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Darrall-Jones J, Jones B, Till K. Anthropometric, sprint, and high-intensity running profiles of English academy rugby union players by position. J Strength Cond Res. 2016;30(5):13481358. PubMed ID: 26466132 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001234

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Smart D, Hopkins W, Gill N. Differences and changes in the physical characteristics of professional and amateur rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(11):30333044. PubMed ID: 23603998 doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31828c26d3

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Quarrie K, Hopkins W, Anthony M, Gill ND. Positional demands of international rugby union: evaluation of player actions and movements. J Sci Med Sport. 2013;16(4):353359. PubMed ID: 22975233 doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2012.08.005

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Gabbett T. Activity and recovery profiles of state-of-origin and national rugby league match-play. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29(3):708715. PubMed ID: 25474333 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000449

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    McLean D. Analysis of the physical demands of international rugby union. J Sports Sci. 1992;10(3):285296. PubMed ID: 1602530 doi:10.1080/02640419208729927

  • 13.

    Eaves S, Hughes M. Patterns of play of international rugby union teams before and after the introduction of professional status. Int J Perform Anal Sport. 2003;3(2):103111. doi:10.1080/24748668.2003.11868281

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Gabbett T, Pollley C, Dwyer D, Kearney S, Corvo A. Influence of field position and phase of play on the physical demands of match-play in professional rugby league forwards. J Sci Med Sport. 2014;17(5):556561. PubMed ID: 24011438 doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2013.08.002

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    England Rugby . Report of the Player Development Pathway Task Group. 2010. Retrieved from https://www.englandrugby.com/mm/Document/General/General/01/30/09/68/RFU_Player_Development_Pathway_Task_Group_Report_May_10.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2017.

    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Wilkinson M, Akenhead R. Violation of statistical assumptions in a recent publication? Int J Sports Med. 2013;34(3):281. PubMed ID: 23420193 doi:10.1055/s-0032-1331775

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Ross A, Gill N, Cronin J. A comparison of the match demands of international and provincial rugby sevens. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015;10(6):786790. PubMed ID: 25310624 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2014-0213

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Varley M, Fairweather I, Aughey R. Validity and reliability of GPS for measuring instantaneous velocity during acceleration, deceleration, and constant motion. J Sports Sci. 2012;30(2):121127. PubMed ID: 22122431 doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.627941

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Boyd L, Ball K, Aughey R. The reliability of MinimaxX accelerometers for measuring physical activity in Australian football. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2011;6(3):311321. PubMed ID: 21911857 doi:10.1123/ijspp.6.3.311

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Lindsay A, Lewis J, Gill N, Draper N, Gieseg SP. No relationship exists between urinary NT-proBNP and GPS technology in professional rugby union. J Sci Med Sport. 2017;20(8):790794. PubMed ID: 28169150 doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2016.11.017

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Roe G, Halkier M, Beggs C, Till K, Jones B. The use of accelerometers to quantify collisions and running demands of rugby union match-play. Int J Perform Anal Sport. 2016;16(2):590601. doi:10.1080/24748668.2016.11868911

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Hopkins W. A spreadsheet to combine and compare effects. Sportscience. 2007;10:5153.

  • 23.

    Hopkins W, Marshall S, Batterham A, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(1):313. PubMed ID: 19092709 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818cb278

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24.

    Sykes D, Twist C, Hall S, Lamp KL. Semi-automated time–motion analysis of senior elite rugby league. Int J Perform Anal Sport. 2009;9(1):4759. doi:10.1080/24748668.2009.11868463

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Gabbett T. Activity and recovery cycles of national rugby league matches involving higher and lower ranked teams. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(6):16231628. PubMed ID: 23037615 doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318274f2af

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Argus C, Gill N, Keogh J. Characterization of the differences in strength and power between different levels of competition in rugby union athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(10):26982704. PubMed ID: 22105055 doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e318241382a

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Tierney P, Tobin D, Blake C, Delahunt E. Attacking 22 entries in rugby union: running demands and differences between successful and unsuccessful entries. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017;27(12):19341941. PubMed ID: 28028894 doi:10.1111/sms.12816

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    Delaney J, Thornton H, Pryor J, Stewart AM, Dascombe BJ, Duthie GM. Peak running intensity of international rugby: implications for training prescription. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017;12(8):10391045. PubMed ID: 27967337 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0469

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Black G, Gabbett T, Naughton G, McLean BD. The effect of intense exercise periods on physical and technical performance during elite Australian football match-play: a comparison of experienced and less experienced players. J Sci Med Sport. 2016;19(7):596602. PubMed ID: 26315892 doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2015.07.007

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30.

    Bennett K, Fransen J, Scott B, Sanctuary CE, Gabbett TJ, Dascombe BJ. Positional group significantly influences the offensive and defensive skill involvements of junior representative rugby league players during match play. J Sports Sci. 2016;34(16):15421546. PubMed ID: 26651383 doi:10.1080/02640414.2015.1122206

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 514 270 33
Full Text Views 21 12 2
PDF Downloads 16 8 1