Development of a player impact ranking matrix in Super 14 rugby union

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The aim of this study was to design and implement a Player Impact Ranking (PIR) matrix to objectively quantify the impact of players on team performance and game outcomes in rugby union. Game data from the Crusaders, Force and Lions in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Super 14 competition seasons were used. A framework of game actions (GA) was developed for individual players and allocated positive and negative weightings to reflect each GA's relative importance to a team's winning performance. The weightings were applied to the frequencies of each game action to derive a total net game performance (NGP) score, which was then used to assess the teams' performances, utilising game results (i.e. win/loss), competition points and score margins (i.e. the difference in scores between two teams). NGP scores showed significant relationships with wins/losses, team scores and competition points (p<0.05). Moderate, positive correlations were recorded with NGP scores and score margins (r=0.66-0.76; p<0.01). Results suggested that the derived PIR matrix accurately reflected game results and team performances, making it a useful tool for post match analysis of performance. Further research into applying the PIR matrix developed here to in-match situations for real time analysis is recommended.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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