A comparison of substitutes used and performance in the 2015 Rugby World Cup
Pengelly, Samuel John
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The aim of this study was to investigate the use of substitutions within the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. The study was carried out in two parts; firstly a comparison between the score and the times in which winning and losing teams make their substitutions within matches. The substitution patterns were also compared between teams in the World’s top 10 and those outside the World’s top 10. Secondly a computerised notational match analysis was created to identify individual players who had played the full 80 minutes, been subbed on or had come off, their performance and errors made were recorded and analysed. The main findings were that the majority of substitutions made in the 2015 Rugby World Cup was between 50 to 70 minutes into the game. The investigation identified no significant differences between winning and losing teams, however, there was a significant difference between the teams that were within the top 10 in the world ranking and teams and those outside of the top 10. Additionally it was found that there is no significant difference between the top 10 teams, winning team and losing team for their expected and observed number of substitutes made during different score lines. However, teams there were ranked outside the world’s top 10 were observed to make a significantly different amount of substitutions than expected. It was also identified that when one of the top 10 teams are winning they use less substitutes but when they are losing they utilise more. The performance analysis stage identified that players who start the game and played the full 80 minutes are the better players, making less technical and disciplinary errors and producing more positive play.
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