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Ball in Play

Ruan Pienaar of South Africa is tackled over the touchline by Stephen Jones

Photo: Getty Images

During the course of an average 80 minute elite game the ball is actually in play 44% of the time (based on all games at RWC 2007) which equates to 35m 12s. This is largely the same as during RWC 2003, where 42% (or 33m 36s) of each match was spent with the ball in play.

This ball in play figure has increased steadily at ever world cup since 1991 when the ball was in play for an average of 31% of each game (24m 48s).

The following graph shows the ball in play time percentage has increased since RWC 1991:

A graph showing how the ball in play time percentage has increase since 1991

The matches at either end of the scale at RWC 2007 were France v New Zealand (semi final) during which the ball was in play for 57% of the game (45m 34s) and France v Namibia (group stage) during which the ball was in play for just 35% of the game (27m 52s).

The other pages within the physical demands of rugby section provide a breakdown of what types of work the players are doing while the ball is in play.


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