Rugby and Technology

Rugby players have not escaped the technology of today. In 2004 Australian Rugby Rules introduced to adopt GPS to track the player’s movements. Other countries soon followed suit when they saw the benefits to the game and the training.

A small GPS tracker is fitted to the back of the jersey just below the head. If a spectator looks closely, he will see the pocket which holds the GPS. This gadget computes 60 000 data points per minute during playing and training.

The data captured can include:

  • Running speed over a measured distance.
  • The distance the player has run, hence the “Distance Gained” pop up that appears on your screen during a match when a player’s performance is discussed.
  • Acceleration and deceleration of the player.
  • The load on a player caused by rapid changes of direction, which can cause an impact of the joints has also produced muscle fatigue.

The GPS records points that allow the coach to assess performance and whether they are doing their best and not slacking. During training, a players pace can be ascertained, and anything over this can be tiring to the player and anything below this indicates under performing. Mass is also taken into consideration as a more substantial player cannot be expected to have the same performance as a wing, for instance.

The GPS can also interact with the other players such as the forwards and registered that a scrum is being formed and also keep a tally of the number of scrums that have been played. Everything is recorded, such as tackling, scrums, attacks, defence, etc. When all GPS’s have been linked together via UPS, data is correlated and added to the database and gives the coach a better understanding of performance over the years.


Drones are used as they can be moved in all directions, including up and down. This gives other views of the action for the coach to analyse. A rugby player can call up any play he wishes to study, including his own. Combined with the coach viewing these records, the player’s failings can be corrected.

Cell Phone Apps

A rugby player also has other technology to make use of, such as apps for his phone, allowing him to study strategy at will and also to check his vital statistics. There is also a daily questionnaire for players with answers from 0 to 10. These can help with the checking of his wellness and tell the coach if he is ready to play or should be laid off to receive the correct treatment. Use of this app has meant less sickness and fewer injuries – a useful app for any coach to formulate his next team.


Although technology has improved rugby and other games such as soccer for the better, it is still up to the player to perform at his best – and not shirk off and to display a natural gift for the sport.