Game analysis in Rugby Union
Due to rugby's increasing level of professionalism, rugby union performance analysis is in a rapid state of evolution. Coaches, media, administrators and players are demanding greater access to more detailed analysis of team and player performance. Owing to the dynamic nature of the game and high frequency of events, nobody can adequately recall all aspects of the game; therefore performance analysts are playing an increasingly important role in rugby. The ability of analysts to meet this demand is being enhanced by technological advancements world wide, including the integrated capabilities of digital video, computer systems and video analysis software. Most analyses are conducted post-match by reviewing video footage and coding events of interest. Sound methodological approaches exist to develop performance indicators, which, if appropriately collated, can be used to create performance profiles indicative of player and/or team abilities. Sufficient data should be collected to ensure valid profiles, which can then be compared against population norms for more objective interpretation. Rugby research has focused on a range of performance indicators related to game structures and tactical aspects, including lineout tactics, differences between winning and losing performances, which side of the field try scoring predominates, and the number of passes per try. Research has included analysis of the world's top teams to assess the effect of law changes on the game and rates of foul play across different competitions. Despite the range of detailed analysis in the literature, there is a need for a structured account of all logical units of play, defined and quantified in accordance with coaching language and concepts. Player interactions, and off the ball player formations, also present future research potential.