The effect of contextual factors on physiological and activity profiles in international women's rugby sevens

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance


Human Kinetics, Inc.

Place of Publication

United States


Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Goodale, T. L., Gabbett, T. J., Tsai, M. C., Stellingwerff, T., & Sheppard, J. (2017). The effect of contextual factors on physiological and activity profiles in international women’s rugby sevens. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 12(3), 370-376.


Purpose: To evaluate the effects of contextual game factors on activity and physiological profiles of international-level women's rugby sevens players. Methods: Twenty international-level female rugby sevens players from the same national team participated in this study. Global positioning system and heart-rate data were collected at 5 World Rugby Women's Sevens Series events (2013-14 season). Results: Total, moderate-speed (0.2-3.5 m/s), and high-speed running (3.5-5.0 m/s) distances were significantly greater in the first half (20.1% ± 4.1%, 17.6% ± 6.9%, 24.5% ± 7.8%), during losses (11.4% ± 6.1%, 6.1% ± 6.4%, 26.9% ± 9.8%), during losses of large magnitudes (≥ 2 tries) (12.9% ± 8.8%, 6.8% ± 10.0%, 31.2% ± 14.9%), and against top-4 opponents (12.6% ± 8.7%, 11.3% ± 8.5%, 15.5% ± 13.9%). In addition, total distance increased (5.0% ± 5.5%) significantly from day 1 to day 2 of tournaments, and very-high-speed (5.0-6.5 m/s) running distance increased significantly (26.0% ± 14.2%) during losses. Time spent between 90% and 100% of maximum heart rate (16.4% ± 14.5%) and player load (19.0% ± 5.1%) were significantly greater in the second half. No significant differences in physiological or activity profiles were observed between forwards and backs. Conclusions: Game half, game outcome, tournament day, opponent rank, and margin of outcome all affected activity profiles, whereas game half affected physiological profiles. No differences in activity or physiological profiles were found between playing positions. Practitioners are advised to develop high-speed running ability in women's rugby sevens players to prepare them to tolerate the varying factors that affect activity profiles.



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