Were height and mass related to performance at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups?

Document Type

Journal Article


Multi-Science Publishing


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences




This article was originally published as: Barr M., Newton R., Sheppard J. (2014). Were height and mass related to performance at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups?. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 9(4), 671-680. Original article available here


It has previously been reported that there are trends for height and mass in rugby players to be greater with higher levels of competition and historical increases over time are greater than the rates of increase seen in the normal population. The purpose of this study was to examine the importance of height and mass on performance in international rugby by analyzing final pool rankings at the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups (RWC). The 2007 and 2011 RWCs both had four pools of five teams. Each team would play four games in the pool stages and points were given for wins, ties, scoring four or more tries and losing by less than seven points. The points accumulated from this system were used to examine the influence of height and mass on performance. Teams were subdivided into groups (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th) depending on final rankings in the pool stages. An ANOVA and Pearson's correlation were used to compare the influence of height, mass and Body Mass Index on final pool rankings and points accumulated in each of the two tournaments. Of all of the anthropometric measurements considered, the height and mass of forwards seem to be the best indicators of team performance.