Patterns of play in the oppositions 22m that define success in elite rugby union.

Forbes, R. (2018) Patterns of play in the oppositions 22m that define success in elite rugby union. Masters theses, University of Chichester.

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The present study aimed to explore the factors of play around entries into the oppositions 22m area (“Green Zone”) in Elite Rugby Union matches, as predictors for possession and match outcome. A total sample of 54 matches from the 2017/18 season, consisting of all 12 team’s first 9 matches of the top tier of English Rugby Union. Match location and match outcome were balanced 50/50. Green Zone Entries were defined as when an attacking player entered the oppositions Green Zone in possession of the ball and were analysed for Number of Entries (GZE), Conversion Rate (GZC), Outcome Ratio (GZO), Average Phases (AP) and Styles of Play (SOP). GZE, GZC and GZO were compared between winning and losing teams whilst AP and SOP were analysed for association in relation to outcome of possession. Independent Samples t-tests and Mann Whiteney U tests were used as test of difference, depending on distribution, whilst Chi Squared tests of association were used to analyse SOP, both to an alpha level of 0.05. Winning teams had significantly more GZE (8.81±2.44 vs 6.62±2.34, p<0.05) and a significantly higher GZC (56.1±16.07 vs 36.6±18.8, p<0.05) than losing teams. Mann Whitney U test reported no difference between GZO for winning and losing teams (tries: 80 [40] vs 77.5 [35], penalties: 18.3 [34.3] vs 0 [33], drop goal: 0 [0] vs 0 [0], p>0.05). There was no difference in the Average phases of possessions that ended in tries and those that did not (3 [4] vs 3 [4], p<0.05). Chi Squared tests of association reported a strong trend towards possession over 7 phases having the highest try scoring rate (p=0.07). Chi Squared tests of association also reported a strong trend towards winning teams playing more Pick & Go phases (21% vs 17%) and less Off 9 (55% vs 60%) in the Green Zone than losing teams (p=0.056). Future research may wish to analyse teams on an individual basis to create a better understanding of the different but equally successful SOP teams employ in the Green Zone, in line with Croft et al. (2015)’s work.

Publication Type: Theses (Masters)
Additional Information: MSc Sports Performance Analysis
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Sport > Area > Exercise Physiology
Student Research > Masters
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2020 09:34
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2020 09:34

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