Study sheds light on rugby winners

2017-01-18 06:01
The study on ­variables in Super Rugby can provide coaches with insight on how to approach the ­game. From the left are Riaan Schoeman, Prof. Robert Schall and Prof. Derik Coetzee from the University of the Free State (UFS).   Photo: Anja Aucamp

The study on ­variables in Super Rugby can provide coaches with insight on how to approach the ­game. From the left are Riaan Schoeman, Prof. Robert Schall and Prof. Derik Coetzee from the University of the Free State (UFS). Photo: Anja Aucamp

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It is better for Super Rugby teams to not have the ball, which also leads to reduced overall playing time in matches.

This observation is from a study by the University of the Free State on the difference between winning and losing teams. Statistics between 2011 and 2015 show that Super Rugby winning teams kick more and their defence is better.

These statistics were applied by Riaan Schoeman, lecturer in Exercise and Sport Science, Prof. Derik Coetzee, head of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science, and Prof. Robert Schall, Department of Mathematics and Actuarial Science. The purpose of the study in changes in match variables for winning and losing teams in Super Rugby from 2011 to 2015 was to observe changes. Data on 30 games (four from each team) per season, supplied by the Cheetahs via Verusco TryMaker Pro, were used.

“We found that the playing time has decreased. This is the time the ball is in play during 80 minutes,” says Schoeman. In 2011, the average playing time was 34.12 minutes and in 2015 it was 31.95.

“The winning team has less possession of the ball and don’t want it. They play more conservatively. They dominate with kicks and then they play,” says Coetzee, who was the conditioning coach for the Springboks in 2007 when they won the World Cup.

As a result, the number of line-outs also increased (from 0,31 per minute in 2011 to 0,34 in 2015) and the winning teams are better in this regard.

According to Coetzee, rucks and mauls have also increased (rucks from 2,08 per minute in 2011 to 2,16 in 2015 and mauls from 0,07 per minute in 2011 to 0,10 in 2015).

“The teams that win, dominate these areas,” he says.

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