An investigation into the influence of score differential on the physical demands of international women’s rugby sevens match play
School of Science
This study explores whether the score differential in winning games influenced the physical demands of match play in women’s rugby seven players. Fifteen members from a highly ranked international team (mean ± SD, 24.3 ± 3.87 years, 168 ± 7.15 cm, 67.5 ± 6.31 kg) participated in this study. Winning score differentials were classified as either small (<21 points) or large (>21 points) and global positional system running data along with match play activities were analysed to identify whether differences exist. Total distances covered were moderately greater in high score differential games (mean difference, ±99% confidence limits, 3.8, ±5.2 m·min−1). Small differences (high – low) were also observed for distance covered at the following speeds: 2–3.5 m·s−1 (1.3, ±3.4 m·min−1), 5–6 m·s−1 (0.8, ±1.5 m·min−1) and ≥6 m·s−1 (1.4, ±1.6 m·min−1). There were a moderately greater numbers of missed tackles (mean count 0.2) and lineouts (mean count 0.5) in low score differential versus high score differential games. Greater winning margins were associated with greater running demands and fewer match activity demands. It is suggested that specific recovery protocols should be considered for matches that have either higher running or match activity demands.