Physical Activity of Rugby Players Measured by Global Positioning System

Takashi Toda and Jun Murakami

[Received July 8, 2013; Accepted February 2, 2015] 

Objective: The purpose of this study was to quantify the movement of players in rugby matches.
Methods: Players (n=33) were tracked continuously throughout the 2012-2013 season using Global Positioning System (GPS) software. Player positions were defined as: (1) Backs or Forwards; (2) Front, Second and Back Rows, Inside Backs and Outside Backs.
Result: There was a significant difference in the total distance traveled by backs (6257.4±555.52m) and forwards (5763.3±678.29m, p<0.05) during the matches. Approximately half of this distance (Backs: 47.0% vs Forwards: 45.6%) was in the Standing & Walking speed zone (0-6km/h-1). Forwards covered more distance at Jogging speed than backs did (Backs: 1475.4±283.39m vs Forwards: 1847.8±410.16m, p<0.05). Positive and significant correlation was observed between first and second half distances (r=0.602, p<0.01). Inside backs travelled the farthest (6390.0±520.65m) during matches at the highest average speed (4.4±0.37 km/h-1). Outside backs were distinguished by their attainment of the highest peak speed (31.2±2.19km/h-1). Back rows covered significantly more total distance, relative total distance and maximum speed than front rows did (p<0.05).
Conclusion: The current study has highlighted positional differences in rugby. Results suggested that rugby is an intermittent exercise involving high-intensity (sprinting) and low-intensity work (Standing & Walking). Results also indicated the importance of basic physical fitness as well as the planning of training programs specific to individual positions.

Keywords: GPS, Physical demands, Positional differences

[Football Science Vol.12, 43-50, 2015]