Power or explosiveness as it is sometimes referred to, is the ability to produce high force quickly. Power is calculated as force multiplied by velocity and it is extremely important in rugby performance. Many athletic and sporting actions in the game only provide the player with a very short amount of time to produce the force needed to successfully execute the movement. Sprinting, for example, can have foot ground contact (when the foot is in contact with the ground, the time that the player must produce the force to propel themselves forwards and keep sprinting) times of 0.08-0.1 seconds. This short foot ground contact time is not long enough for the player to be able to produce maximal force and so expressing as much force as possible in the short timeframe, or in other words power, is a critical factor. Stepping, cutting, jumping, tackling, lifting, handing off etc. are all areas of the game that can be enhanced by improving power production capability.

Figure 9. Developing greater power allows for greater acceleration and more rapid force production as well as promoting greater jump performance – all attributes that may enhance technical performance on the field of play.


Jones and colleagues in 2019 looked to see if tests for lower body power could distinguish between playing level in rugby union. They compared Aviva premiership professional players to university level players in several lower body power tests. Unsurprisingly the professional players outperformed the amateur players when it came to lower body power measures. In the vertical jump test the professional players outperformed the amateur player by 21% in jump height. A sprint test on a cycle ergometer was also performed as a measure of lower body power. The professional players outperformed the amateurs in peak power measured in Watts by 29.5%. While it could be argued that professionals in most sports will perform better in most physical capacity tests compared to amateurs, the substantial differences in lower body power measurements indicate that in order to play at higher levels in rugby, power is a very important physical capacity to develop within the player pathway.