Time-Motion Analysis: Discriminating between winning and losing teams in Professional Rugby

  • R Schoeman
  • DF Coetzee
Keywords: Rugby, Time-motion analysis, Distance covered, High-intensity distance covered, Percentage work rate at high intensity.


The current trend in video analysis is the development of performance profiles to describe individual or team patterns created from combinations of key performance indicators. The aim of this study was to quantify distance covered, high-intensity distance covered and percentage work rate at high intensity of various playing positions, as well as to provide a meaningful body of data to determine winning and losing components that jeopardise rugby matches at professional level. The ProZone version 3 time-motion analysis program was used to gather data from 18 matches (Test and Super 14 Rugby). Average distances covered by positional groups ranged from 5816m for front rows to 7166m for inside backs. No significant differences (p<0.05) were found between the winning and losing teams. However, positional group comparisons indicated that the distance covered by the locks showed a significant difference (p=0.03) between the winning and losing teams. Backs performed more high-intensity distance than forwards (backs 1549 to 1715m versus forwards 789 to 1333m). There were no significant differences (p<0.05) between playing positions and winning and losing teams regarding the percentage work rate at high intensity. Time-motion analysis is an effective method of quantifying the demands of rugby and provides a conceptual framework for the specific physical preparation of players.

Key words: Rugby; Time-motion analysis; Distance covered; High-intensity distance covered; Percentage work rate at high intensity.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069