The Physical Demands of a Rugby Player

In order to Programme effectively for conditioning sessions that will prepare Rugby Players for Game Day, it is vital to understand the demands that a player will experience during a game.

Rugby Renegade has researched and collected a vast amount of Game Day statistics that allows our Strength and Conditioning Team the ability to use the data to make our Daily Strength and Conditioning Programme as Game Specific as possible.

The following data is a sample for our Rugby Plyaers to understand the physical demands of the modern game from Semi-Professional to International Level…



International: 34-45 Mins

Heineken Cup: 36-43 Mins

Aviva Premiership: 27-37 Mins

Semi Pro: 20 – 27 Mins



International: 7000-9000m

Heineken Cup: 6000-8000m

Aviva Premiership: 4500-7500m

Semi Pro: 2500-4000m



Instances within a game where players achieve speed of 6.7m/sec at any given time.

International Level: 29

Heineken Cup: 24

Aviva Premiership: 21

Semi Pro: 14


Where you divide GPS speeds/distances against ball in play.

International: Recorded Speeds of up to 140 meters per min

Heineken Cup: up to 130 m/min

Aviva Premiership: up to 120 m/min

Championship/Semi Pro: 95 m/min


% of meters covered in each half on average by all positions.

 International: First Half 54% Second Half 46%

Heineken  Cup: 57% 43%

Aviva Premiership: 58% 42%

Semi Pro: 64% 36%

It shows above, that the higher up a level you go in rugby union, the ball in play time increases, the intensity also within those minutes is higher (having to cover more meters per minute), but the overall meters covered is pretty standard throughout. This is explained by the sequencing of effort, because the speeds at which unconditioned players at the lower levels run drop off considerably in the second half. Basically, at the top level, the distance difference between the 1st half and 2nd half is only 4%, but at semi pro level the speed, distance and intensity drops in the second half by 28%! Also, this is compounded by the ball in play time at international level being up to 38 mins more.

To mimic an international standard training session for a whole game you would:

Session Length:  38 mins (this does not include rest)

Distance Covered: 8km

Number of High Speed Sprints: 25-30 (position dependant)

Session Plan: No reduction in intensity as session goes on.

To mimic a semi professional standard training session for a whole game you would:

Session Length:  22 mins (this does not include rest)

Distance Covered: 4km

Number of High Speed Sprints: 14-20 (position dependant)

Session Plan: Second Half of Session easier and slower than the first.

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