A Comparative Analysis of the Kicking Strategies Adopted by International Teams from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether international rugby union teams from the northern and southern hemispheres have different tactical kicking strategies during open play. Games from the 2013 Six Nations (n=10) competition in the northern hemisphere were analysed, and the Rugby Championship 2013 was used to analyse games from the southern hemisphere (n=10). Kicking strategy related performance indicators were devised to cover all aspects of rugby surrounding the kicking game, and then used to create a hand notation system for coding. Prior to data collection, an intra-observer reliability test was performed using Kappa calculations. All variables confirmed an excellent strength of agreement according to Altman (1991): scores of 0.8 or higher. Inferential statistics were calculated using the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test (non-parametric) for related samples, while a Mann Whitney-U Test (non-parametric) was used to calculate p values for independent samples. Significant differences were accepted for both tests at a level of p<0.05. The findings concluded that only one significant difference (p<0.05) was found between winning and losing teams in the northern hemisphere; kicking battle success. However, in the southern hemisphere there were three significant differences (p<0.05) between winning and losing teams in; total kicks, percentage chase execution TWO, and, percentage chase execution MINUS ONE’. When all teams were compared between northern and southern hemisphere, significant differences (p<0.05) were found in kick to touch inside, chase execution two, and, chase execution one. However, when only winning teams from each hemisphere were analysed significant differences were found in the following variables; chip kick, kick to touch inside, kick execution minus two, from red zone, to own amber zone, chase execution two, and, chase execution one. The majority of differences identified were in connection with the chase area of performance, therefore signifying the biggest differences are found in this aspect of the kicking strategy.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
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