News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Caffeine shown to increase performance in rugby

Caffeine shown to increase performance in rugby players

A new study into the effects of caffeine on rugby players suggests it can significantly enhance performance in several ways.

The study was performed by Gene Stuart, a research student at the Auckland University of Technology and was supervised by AUT’s Professor Will Hopkins.

Professor Hopkins says the findings are important because there have been no previous studies of the effects of caffeine on the way athletes perform in team sports.

“Several studies have shown that caffeine enhances performance of single bouts of endurance exercise such as long distance running, but its effects on repeated bouts typical of those in high-intensity team sports are unclear.

“This study showed benefits for athletes including sprinting speed, fatigue reduction and up to a 10 per cent improvement in passing accuracy. These results are quite remarkable and show there are significant performance advantages across the board,” he says.

The study involved eight competitive male rugby players ingesting either caffeine or a placebo 70 minutes before performing a rugby simulation test. Each test consisted of seven circuits during two 40-minute halves with a 10-minute half-time break.

Each circuit included measurements of sprint time (two straight-line and three agility sprints), power generation in two consecutive drives, and accuracy of passing balls rapidly.

AUT research associate Christian Cook, who was one of the study’s co-authors and member of HortResearch’s Human Performance Group, observed that caffeine increased the release of testosterone in the subjects during the performance test.

Professor Hopkins says that this could have repercussions for athletic training. “Future studies may well show that caffeine has an anabolic when combined with training,” he says.

Professor Hopkins says that while most people get a daily hit of caffeine through drinking coffee, its consumption did not have the same positive effect on physical performance.

“There is something in coffee that reduces the performance-enhancing effects of the caffeine it contains.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Ten x Ten - One Hundred of Te Papa's Best-Loved Art Works

An idiosyncratic selection by ten art curators, each of whom have chosen ten of their favourite works. Handsomely illustrated, their choices are accompanied by full-page colour prints and brief descriptions of the work, explaining in straightforward and approachable language why it is of historical, cultural, or personal significance. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Portacom City - Reporting On Canterbury Earthquakes

In Portacom City Paul Gorman describes his own deeply personal story of working as a journalist during the quakes, while also speaking more broadly about the challenges that confront reporters at times of crisis. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Christopher Pugsley’s The Camera in the Crowd - Filming in New Zealand Peace and War 1895-1920

Pugsley brings to life 25 exhilarating years of film making and picture screening in a sumptuously illustrated hardback published by Oratia that tells the story through surviving footage unearthed from the national film archives. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland