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England Women’s Sevens prepare for RWC Sevens qualifying tournament

28 June 2012

  • England Strength & Conditioning Coach gives an insight into the team’s preparations
  • Polar at the heart of England’s fitness
England Women will be helped by Polar heart-rate monitoring

Photo: RFU Archive

The England Women’s Sevens team are set for a crucial 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifying tournament in Moscow this weekend, with a top five finish enough to see them through to next year’s World Cup. Heading into the tournament as top seeds following their victory in the first round of the European Sevens Series in Holland the team are in a confident mood.

Dan Howells, who has been leading the strength and conditioning programme for England Women’s Elite Playing Squad, commented on the on-going preparation of the squad: “The game has progressed significantly because of the intensity it is now being played at. Nations have stepped up their level of physicality in the contact area, making it more demanding on players’ fitness levels.

“The girls, who are all amateurs, train regularly as we look to taper their volume and maximize the power and speed components of their programme. This close to the competition, the players might be home training or in camp, but irrespective the focus is on quality over quantity, and heavily focused on recovery protocols to maximise preparation leading in to the competition schedule.”

Renowned as the market leader in heart rate monitoring, official supplier of the RFUW, Polar, provide products to help players constantly improve their conditioning, whether in Twickenham with the rest of the team or training alone at home.

Howells, who is a keen user of the Polar equipment added: “As the RFUW is a decentralised programme, players must carry out sessions in their own time. The Polar heart rate monitor gives them instant feedback on intensity levels being performed, and whether this is at the right level based on the desired prescriptions for that session, which helps them to improve fitness levels and avoid fatigue.

“In a typical sevens rugby match players’ maximum heart rates can reach 90-95% of their limit, with an average for games being around 80-85% for the entire half. Based on this, players wear monitors to ensure their application of intensity in their fitness sessions matches the demands of the game.

“In the lead up to this weekend we have been monitoring the intensity levels of the training sessions to ensure that players are maximizing their time on the pitch in terms of technical development, without over doing the fitness component so close to competition. We can use the Polar monitors to ensure adequate recovery between repetitions of work, drills and facilitate the best preparation leading in to competition.”

England will face Portugal, Germany and Croatia in their group with 16 teams vying to finish in the top five to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, including Home Nations Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

For more information on Polar heart rate monitors go to