News Item

GPS dictates rugby decision

The Wales-France 6-Nations match requires the Millennium Stadium roof to be open - for GPS tracking of players.

No matter the weather, the French rugby coach has refused to sanction the closing of the Millennium Stadium roof for today's match - because it would degrade the GPS tracking system worn by his players.

It transpires that GPS-driven trackers give the coach and his staff a vast amount of information - telling them if a player is tiring, how much force he is putting into tackles and how much effort he is making. It aids coaches in deciding when and who to substitute during games.

So the French coach wasn’t prepared to compromise, becoming embroiled in a row with the Welsh rather than back down and allow the sliding roof to be shut with wet weather a possibility in Cardiff. As it stands, both participating teams have to agree to the roof being closed.

The French stance has led the Welsh coach to demand that the Six Nations hierarchy change tournament rules and back Wales over the issue.

Current tracker technology gives coaching staff the ability to review the following typical variables for every player in real time, typically on the likes of an iPad within ~200m of play:
- distance travelled (broken down into time and % of time in zones)
- speed (max, average, minimum - total in zones)
- heart rate (max, average, minimum - total in zones)
- impacts/body load - the ability to view musculoskeletal stress

Coming back to the Millennium Stadium, it will stay open unless there are exceptional weather conditions and the match is in danger of being postponed - but the Welsh coach is quoted as saying mischievously that if the roof were closed on Friday night and then broke down and couldn't be opened...

Details from WalesOnline below.

  • 17 March 2012
  • NOF

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