The effect that the speed of distribution of the ball from the ruck area has on the results of games.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The increased number of rucks during a rugby match over the years has highlighted the importance of this part of the game to coaches and players. To be effective for attacking purposes, rucks have to be quick in order to create and exploit undefended gaps (Johnson, 2009). The aim of this study was to provide a look at the effect that the speed of distribution of the ball from the ruck area has on the results of games and to provide a comparison between northern and southern hemisphere international teams. It has been well documented over recent years that southern hemisphere teams are of better quality than northern hemisphere teams and therefore it was important to identify reasons why. Twenty pre-recorded matches (n=20) were used from the 2013 Six Nations (n=10) and the 2013 Rugby Championship (n=10) with all teams included being ranked in the top fifteen in the world (IRB, 2013). These matches were coded using the Sportscode Elite software (8.5.2) using variables that assessed the speed of the ball being distributed from the ruck area, the possible outcomes and the success of those outcomes. An intra-observer reliability test was carried out prior to data collection with the results showing a very good strength of agreement according to Altman (1991) allowing for official data collection to commence. The results of the study showed several significant differences between the two hemispheres, with the main findings showing that southern hemisphere teams produced a higher amount of quick ruck ball (60.4%) and positive outcomes (52.3%) than northern hemisphere teams (44.6% and 41.6% respectively), with this being proposed as a fundamental reason for their success. Northern hemisphere teams produced a significant amount more slow ruck ball than southern hemisphere teams. Other important significant differences (p<0.05) were found between rucks completed, gain lines not hit, passes completed, negative outcomes off slow ruck ball and unsuccessful kicks off slow ruck ball. Winning teams from both hemispheres produced more positive outcomes and quick ruck ball than losing teams, indicating the positive influence the speed of distribution of the ball has on the results of matches. The recent findings suggest that the greater amount of quick ruck ball produced, the more positive outcomes will be created leading to greater success and the more likely a team is to win a match, hence the southern hemisphere teams’ dominance over the years.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT AND EXERCISE SCIENCE
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