Impact of scrum-halves in relation to match outcome
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The study aimed to quantify the skills demonstrated by scrum-halves during the Rugby World Cup tournament 2011, and their influence on match outcomes. A range of performance indicators were selected and researched. All games in the tournament were used (n=48) and analysed in detail using SportsCode V8, based upon a pre-designed code window. The code window explored the regions of kick, pass and run in relation to match outcome. Each category was sub categorised into further branches of that action which were unique to a scrum half. Kick was divided into; box, chip, grubber, diagonally across and bomb. Pass was divided into distances of; 0-5m, 5-10m and 10-15m. Run was divided into; pick and go, ball carry, line break and hit up. Prior to the data collection, an intra-observer reliability tests was performed using Kappa calculations. The results demonstrated an excellent strength of agreement in accordance with Altman (1991); all variables exceeded the 0.8 acceptance level. A number of independent and related samples tests (Wilcoxon and Friedman) highlighted significant differences in a number of the variables between winning and losing performances. These included; pass distance ten-fifteen metres (p<0.05), total passes off the floor (p<0.05), total chip kicks (p<0.05), total runs (p<0.01), runs in the yellow zone (p<0.01), runs with execution levels of two (p<0.05) and total ball carries (p<0.05) in the group stage matches. In knock out matches, only one significant difference was found in total chip kicks (p<0.01). However, more significant differences were found when all matches were pooled, including; total runs in yellow zone (p<0.05), runs in opposition territory (p<0.05), runs with an execution level of two (p<0.05), total line breaks (p<0.05) and total kicks in the red zone (p<0.05). It was concluded that the results showed that higher quality executions of actions exceeded the effectiveness of quantity of actions for successful teams. The most significant results occurred in the group stages of the tournament, suggesting that quality of opposition also has an effect on the effectiveness of the scrum half. The significant differences found within running actions were concluded to yield the most productivity for successful scrum halves. The nature of running outcomes, practically speaking, can change a game leading to e.g. tries being scored. On the contrary for example, passing actions were concluded to less likely distinguish successful and non-successful performance.
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