How Far Do Rugby Players Run In A Game?

A rugby match lasts for 80 minutes and is played on a 100m X 70m field. Players are constantly running up and down and side to side. However, rugby athletes also spend a lot of time standing around and the clock will continue to run as there are breaks in play for things such as scrums and lineouts. It can be difficult to tell just how far these athletes are running each game.

How far do rugby players run in a game?

The average rugby player will run 6km (4.35 miles) in an 80 minute match. Rugby players spend 70% of the match standing or walking, 20% jogging, 5% fast running and 5% sprinting. Rugby athletes will change pace over 750 times in a single match.

It is amazing to think that rugby players are walking or standing for the majority of the game. Rugby is already an exhausting, gruelling game could you imagine if the players didn’t spend a large portion of the match resting? The game would be too taxing on the human body.

Seeing as rugby players are only running for 24 minutes per match the fact that they can clock up 6km in that time frame is pretty impressive. This equates to rugby athletes running each kilometre in 4 minutes, a respectable pace.

If you want to excel at rugby you better love running because you are going to be spending a lot of time doing it. You need high levels of fitness to ensure that you still have enough in the gas tank to sprint in the late stages of an 80 minute rugby match.

How Far Does A Scrumhalf Run In A Rugby Match?

A scrumhalf on average runs 7km (4.35 miles) during a rugby match with some running as much as 8km (5 miles) per game. This is the most of any position in rugby. The scrumhalf has to constantly keep up with the ball and can not afford to walk and rest on the sideline like other positions.

The scrumhalf is usually the fittest player on the field. So it is not surprising to discover that they are running much more than the average rugby player. In fact on average they run 17% more than the rest of their teammates.

The extra distance they clock up on their footy boots isn’t because scrumhavles have a thing for running around the field like a headless chook. Their position requires them to be constantly hovering around the ball so they can quickly pick it up and pass it to their ball runners. Quick service is vital to scoring in rugby as it becomes increasingly difficult to score if you give the defending side time to set their line.

Halfbacks can not afford to be out of position or take breaks on the sidelines. They must sprint to each and every breakdown to quickly get the ball out of the ruck to give their team the best chance of piercing the defence and scoring a try. 

How Far Does A Prop Run In A Rugby Match?

On average a prop will run between 4.5km (2.8 miles) to 5km (3.1 miles) per rugby match. This is the smallest distance of any rugby position. As props are the heaviest players weighing on average 118kg their running distance is expected to be lower than other positions. 

Props run on average 25% less than the average rugby player. This is not surprising as they also weigh 18% to 20% more than the average rugby player.

Props are not expected to cover great distances on the rugby field. Their chief duty is to dominate when it comes to scrum time, winning clean ball for their side when it is their feed and forcing penalties when it’s the opposition’s feed. 

Their other main responsibilities are defending and ball running around the edges of the ruck. They aren’t expected to be providing cover defence or sprinting after every kick. They will often spend large amounts of the game standing around the edge of the ruck taking breaks trying to catch their breath. 

You can’t be too harsh on their lack of running prowess because you have to factor in that on average they weigh 118kg and stand at 6ft 1. This is a lot of extra weight and fat they have to carry around the pitch. The fact that they can play 80 minutes of rugby and continue to tackle, sprint, go on rampaging runs, scrummage and clean out is very impressive.

How Much Do Rugby Players Sprint?

Rugby players spend 5% of the match sprinting. The average forward will sprint 25 times for 320m per game while the average back will sprint 35 times for 720m. The typical sprinting distance is between 10m to 20m.

Rugby players spend a significant time of the game sprinting (5%) but probably less than you thought. The majority of sprinting during rugby is done by the ball runner. During open play when there is linebreak the defensive side will also sprint to get back into position to make a tackle.

The backs sprint more than twice the distance that forwards do. Backs are much more likely to make linebreaks than forwards and also are more likely to run with the ball in open space than forwards due to the depth they play at and increased speeds they run at. This results in them sprinting much larger distances

How Fast Do Rugby Players Sprint?

Rugby players can sprint as fast as 36km per hour. The average back will sprint 30km per hour while the average forward will sprint 26km per hour. Props are the slowest position averaging a speed of 22km per hour.

Rugby players are fast. Even though they are significantly bigger than the average football player amazingly they are just as fast. EPL players on average can sprint between 28 to 31 km per hour. The fastest player is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has clocked a top speed of 35.5 km/h. The top speedsters in rugby are even quicker than Aubameyang with England’s Johnny May and New Zealand’s Reike Ioane both cracking the 37km per hour mark.

Rugby players are neck and neck with football players, with the average back having an average speed of 30km per hour just as fast as footballers and the fastest men in rugby are even quicker than elite footballers, very impressive seeing as the average rugby back is carrying an extra 20kg compared to the average footballer.


Rugby is a running heavy game that will test your endurance. The average player runs 6km during an 80 minute match. If you aren’t a big fan of running maybe being a prop is your calling as the big men only average 4.5km a game. Rugby players not only run a lot they are also very quick. The average back can sprint 30km per hour and the top sprinters are breaking the 37km per hour mark. These speeds are even quicker than EPL footballers.

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