THE DIRECT INFLUENCES OF FLY-HALVES CONTRIBUTIONS ON WINNING AND LOSING
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the study was to analyse the attacking influence of a fly-half in Rugby Union, to explore the influential effect on winning performances. International fly-halves were examined from the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Twentyfour matches were viewed to gather data on the attacking attributes (kick, run and pass) of each fly-half. Performance indicators were devised to include the attacking behaviours a fly-half performs, with a number of variables to break down each skill. Additionally, ball possession was recorded to allow for accurate analysis to standardise against time. Intra-observer reliability tests were performed prior to the collection using Kappa calculations. A very good strength of agreement was recorded for all components (according to Altman, 1991). Inferential analysis of the statistics gathered during coding was used in SPSS Statistics (Version 20). Exploratory tests were executed for paired data using the Wilcoxon test to calculate any significant differences. Overall, winning fly-halves displayed more contributions and played in the attacking zones more often. These tests highlighted significant differences in the total amount of fly-half possessions and the total amount of passes (p<0.05) between winning and losing fly-halves (p<0.05). Six significant differences were found involving the variable passing. The kicking and running variables didn’t uncover any significant differences (p<0.05). However, winning fly-halves made more kicks and runs throughout the process of coding. Additionally, there was a significant difference in the amount of team time and number possessions won by the winning teams (p<0.05). This provided more opportunities for the fly-halves to influence the team attacks. In conclusion, fly-halves make a substantial amount of contribution that can clearly affect the match outcome, predominately in the areas of possessions and decision making. The combination of the quality of contributions made by winning fly-halves and overall team possession resulted in success at international rugby union. They were efficient with possession they obtained too; echoing the literature by Greenwood (2003), James et al. (2005) and Van den Berg and Malan (2010).
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