Physiological, anthropometric, and performance characteristics of rugby sevens players

Dean G. Higham, David Pyne, Judith Anson, Anthony Eddy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    82 Citations (Scopus)


    Although the characteristics of 15-a-side rugby union players have been well defined, there is little information on rugby sevens players. Purpose: The authors profiled the anthropometric, physiological, and performance qualities of elite-level rugby sevens players and quantified relationships between these characteristics. Methods: Eighteen male international rugby sevens players undertook anthropometric (body mass, height, sum of 7 skinfolds, lean-mass index), acceleration and speed (40-m sprint), muscle-power (vertical jump), repeated-sprint-ability (6 x 30-m sprint), and endurance (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery test and treadmill VO2max) testing. Associations between measurements were assessed by correlation analysis. Results: Rugby sevens players had anthropometric characteristics (body mass 89.7 +/- 7.6 kg, height 1.83 +/- 0.06 m, sum of 7 skinfolds 52.2 +/- 11.5 mm; mean +/- SD) similar to those of backs in international 15-player rugby union. Acceleration and speed (40-m sprint 5.11 +/- 0.15 s), muscle-power (vertical jump 66 +/- 7 cm), and endurance (VO2max 53.8 +/- 3.4 qualities were similar to, or better than, those of professional 15-a-side players. Coefficients of variation ranged from 2.5% to 22%. Relative VO2max was largely correlated with Yo-Yo distance (r = .60, .21-.82; 90% confidence interval) and moderately correlated with 40-m sprint time (r = -.46,-.75 to -.02) and repeated-sprint ability (r = -.38,-.72 to .09). Conclusions: International rugby sevens players require highly developed speed, power, and, endurance to tolerate the demands of competition. The small between-athletes variability of characteristics in rugby sevens players highlights the need for relatively uniform physical and performance standards in contrast with 15-a-side players
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-27
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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