TRY SCORING IN THE 2009/10 WELSH PRINCIPALITY PREMIERSHIP
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Research in International rugby union has demonstrated the importance of try scoring (IRB, 2003). Try scoring often determines the result of matches; teams scoring fewer tries only win 16% of matches (Laird and Lorimer, 2004). A repeat of this study using the 2009/10 Welsh Principality Premiership revealed that teams scoring fewer tries won only 9% of matches; it was concluded that try scoring is the most potent method for obtaining the primary objective of the sport – to score points and win matches. These findings justified the current research into try scoring in the Welsh Premiership. The research sought to identify the tactics and types of play involved in try scoring possessions. A labels mode template was designed using SportsCode Elite software to add metadata to pre-coded and databased try scoring possessions. Computation of Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance revealed that there is a significant difference in the number of tries scored in different matches depending on the position in the league table of the teams in the match (p<0.01). Mann-Whitney U statistic revealed that top 7 placed teams scored statistically more tries than bottom 7 placed tries regardless of the opposition (p<0.05). The analysis identified that the origin of possession for more than 70% of tries scored was in the opposition half of the pitch. It was also identified that set-piece possession led to 45.4% of tries. The data mining technique market basket analysis was used to analyse combinations of variables that were involved in try scoring possessions. It revealed a number of combinations of variables that were involved in try scoring possessions. The research concluded that there is no definite optimal tactics or set plays for scoring tries, however there is a number of combinations of variables that are more likely lead to successful scores. The quantitative results from this research can be used as a source of feedback to coaches in order to develop tactics and patterns of play.
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