Establishing duration-specific running intensities from match-play analysis in rugby league Academic Article uri icon


  • Rugby league coaches often prescribe training to replicate the demands of competition. The intensities of running drills are often monitored in comparison with absolute match-play measures. Such measures may not be sensitive enough to detect fluctuations in intensity across a match or to differentiate between positions.Purpose:To determine the position- and duration-specific running intensities of rugby league competition, using a moving-average method, for the prescription and monitoring of training.Methods:Data from a 15-Hz global positioning system (GPS) were collected from 32 professional rugby league players across a season. The velocity–time curve was analyzed using a rolling-average method, where maximum values were calculated for 10 different durations, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 min, for each player across each match.Results:There were large differences between the 1- and 2-min rolling averages and all other rolling-average durations. Smaller differences were observed for rolling averages of greater duration. Fullbacks maintained a greater velocity than outside backs and middle and edge forwards over the 1- and 2-min rolling averages (ES 0.8−1.2, P < .05). For rolling averages 3 min and greater, the running demands of the fullbacks were greater than those of the middle forwards and outside backs (ES 1.1−1.4, P < .05).Conclusions:These findings suggest that the running demands of rugby league fluctuate vastly across a match. Fullbacks were the only position to exhibit a greater running intensity than any other position, and therefore training prescription should reflect this.


  • Delaney, JA
  • Scott, TJ
  • Thornton, HR
  • Bennett, KJM
  • Gay, D
  • Duthie, GM
  • Dascombe, BJ

publication date

  • 2015