A Comparison of Attacking Scrum Patterns in the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups
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There has been little research into the profiling of specific aspects key elements of play in rugby union and their association to attacking play within a competitive environment. If there is the ability to profile these parts of the game then the results could impact on training and future performances. Performance variables were selected with regards to the scrum and its consequent attacking strategy. Computerised analysis of past matches from the 2007 (n=39) and 2011 (n=40) Rugby World Cup‟s Tier One teams took place. All aspects of the scrum were recorded and matched to the position of the pitch where they occurred. The match analysis system showed good to high levels of agreements in intra-observer reliability studies. The results offered examples of how the data produced could be used to supply coaches or players with important visualisation tools that profile each aspect of scrum play in rugby union. Statistical analysis of the data found there were significant differences between the frequency of penalties (p<0.001) and resets (p<0.01) awarded between the two world cup events. This was further analysed to show an increase in the penalties being awarded to the attacking teams between 2007 and 2011. There was also a significant decrease in the way the Tier One teams use the ball off the back of a successful scrum. This showed a decrease in the use of the number 8 picking the ball (p<0.05) and the scrum half passing the ball (p<0.001) from the scrum. The number of phases Tier One teams chose to use in the various zones of the pitch changed between the two competitions. Notably the occurrence of increased phase play in the most defensive area of the pitch was identified from data of the 2011 matches. Significant results from this sample have a possible correlation to recent rule changes to the scrum. With further changes in rules to this element of the game it can be concluded that profiling attacking scrum play has importance to discovering ways to quantify match play in such a complex sport.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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