Out of your zone? 21 years of travel and performance in Super Rugby Academic Article uri icon


  • The extent to which travel has affected Super Rugby teams' performances was analysed using outcomes of all matches played from the beginning of the competition in 1996 to the end of the 2016 season. Points difference and matches won or lost were predicted with general and generalized mixed linear models. The predictors were the linear effects of number of time zones crossed and travel duration based on the teams' locations for each match and their locations in the previous week. The away-match disadvantage was also estimated, along with trends in all these effects. In 1996 the predicted combined effect of eastward travel across 12 time zones was a reduction of 5.8 points scored per match, resulting in 4.1 more matches lost every 10 matches. Corresponding effects for westward travel were 6.4 points and 3.1 matches. In 2016 effects travelling eastward were 3.7 points and 2.3 matches, whereas travelling westward the effects were 3.7 points and 1.5 matches. These travel effects were due mainly to the away-match disadvantage: 5.7 points and 3.2 matches in 1996; 5.2 points and 2.3 matches in 2016. Teams in Super Rugby are dealing successfully with long-haul travel and should now focus on reducing the away-match disadvantage.


  • Lo, Michele
  • Aughey, Robert J
  • Hopkins, William G
  • Gill, Nicholas
  • Stewart, Andrew M

publication date

  • September 17, 2019