New study concludes women's rugby is 'more dynamic' than men's
A study has found that women's rugby is more dynamic than men's - just as the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan.
Sports scientist Dr Eddie Bradley, who works at the University of Sunderland, observed Premier 15s side Darlington Mowden Park Sharks for three years. He has monitored them during training and matches and compared them to the men's side of the sport.
His comparison found that the women's game is more homogeneised. The women move around the pitch more to find their perfect position.
Bradley said: “This actually develops the game in an interesting way, making it fascinating and exciting to watch, because of the similarities within the players, they can play in a lot more positions and there is a lot more running in the game.
“While there is not as much use of scrums and the power game like the men’s, it’s fast-paced and probably more dynamic.”
He says this occurs because women are more likely to take up the game later in life while men begin playing from an early age.
“A lot of female players don’t start playing until they get to university and don’t know where they should be playing, so it takes a few years to decide what the best position for them is and move around quickly," he said.
"Boys are often playing from primary school and tend to be identified for specific positions from an early age.
“I think it would improve their game if girls were playing from an earlier age, to develop their skills in specific positions that could lead to improvements in their game.
"However, it’s also not a bad thing for the team to see positions changing, for example, you may get props who can run really fast and that’s great for the game.”
Darlington Mowden Park Sharks Director of rugby, Justin Loveridge, said: “Eddie has been a fantastic member of the team during the last couple of seasons providing the team with expert advice and equipment.
"This has allowed the players to benefit from GPS data and speed gates which has helped us track their performance during training and matches."
Bradley added: “This is just the starting point, there’s so much more to look at as the popularity of the women’s game continues to grow, from fitness and tackles to how hard each player is working during a match.
"Many of the players are using our data to benchmark against themselves, now they have the results of how far they’re running and sprinting which is so important for their own development.”