Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2010) 09, 51 - 55

Research article
Rugby Game-Related Statistics that Discriminate Between Winning and Losing Teams in Irb and Super Twelve Close Games
Luis Vaz1, , Michele Van Rooyen2, Jaime Sampaio1
Author Information
1 Research Center for Sport Sciences, Health and Human Development, Portugal
2 University of Cape Town and The Sports Science Institute of South Africa,

Luis Vaz
✉ Department of Sports Sciences, Exercise and Health, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro at Vila Real, Quinta de Prados, Ap. 202, 5000-511 Vila Real, Portugal
Publish Date
Received: 26-08-2009
Accepted: 03-12-2009
Published (online): 01-03-2010
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The aim of the current study was to identify the Rugby game- related statistics that discriminated between winning and losing teams in IRB and S12 close games. Archival data reported to game-related statistics from 120 IRB games and 204 Super Twelve games played between 2003 and 2006. Afterwards, a cluster analysis was conducted to establish, according to game final score differences, three different match groups. Only the close games group was selected for further analysis (IRB n = 64 under 15 points difference and Super Twelve n = 95 under 11 points difference). An analysis to the structure coefficients (SC) obtained through a discriminant analysis allowed to identify the most powerful game-related statistics in discriminating between winning and losing teams. The discriminant functions were statistically significant for Super Twelve games (Chi-square = 33.8, p < 0.01), but not for IRB games (Chi- square = 9.4, p = n.s.). In the first case, winners and losers were discriminated by possessions kicked (SC = 0.48), tackles made (SC = 0.45), rucks and pass (SC = -0.40), passes completed (SC = 0. 39), mauls won (SC = -0.36), turnovers won (SC = -0.33), kicks to touch (SC = 0.32) and errors made (SC = -0.32). The minus sign denotes higher values in losing teams. Rugby game-related statistics were able to discriminate between winners and losers in Super Twelve close games and suggest that a kicking based game supported by an effective defensive structure is more likely to win matches than a possession based one.

Key words: Game-related statistics, performance profiles, match analysis

           Key Points
  • Winning teams made fewer passes and won fewer turnovers on their opposition’s possession.
  • International competitions that include teams from all nations are unlikely to show statistically significant differences between winning and losing teams when the difference between the final score is 15 points or less.
  • Regional competitions do elicit significant differences between winning and losing teams and suggest that a kicking based game plan is a more effective style of play during the S12 competition than an open running possession dominated game.
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