Did set pieces have an effect on the success of teams in the 2011 and 2012 Six Nations Rugby Union tournaments?
Sheen de Jesus, Rhiannon
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of this study was to analyse the effects that set pieces had on possession during the 2011 and 2012 Six Nations tournaments. Thirty matches were analysed, 15 matches from each tournament using an Excel template. Performance indicators such as the amount of possessions, phases and set pieces were used to analyse certain aspects of the game. Kappa values of 0.9 and above were achieved as a reliability measure. Wilcoxon tests were used to determine any significant differences; accepted at p<0.05 level. Results showed that there were no significant differences in any of the variables (p<0.05), however winning teams had greater possession statistics (52% compared to 51%, SD 0.24 ± 0.12) and mean numbers of set pieces than the losing teams (24 and 25, SD 4.72 ± 0.46). Lineouts were the most frequent set piece starters and the most successful way of gaining/regaining possession. Set pieces were more successful in the oppositions half than in the teams own half. Phase counts also showed that the more successful teams had less phases overall than the unsuccessful teams, suggesting that they were able to penetrate the defence more effectively without being tackled. Results showed that the more successful teams had a greater amount of possession in the oppositions half than the losing teams. This also included possessions in the oppositions 22. The losing teams however, had more possessions in their own half than the winning teams, suggesting that they were unable to use the ball more effectively in the oppositions half. This study concluded that there could be practical differences in the inferences made, with further analysis required to explore an effect on the winning performance.
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