New Zealand All Blacks Balancing Data Analytics

New Zealand Rugby

New Zealand Rugby has been promoting the game of rugby since 1892. From the time when sports did not involve so much technology. According to performance analytics manager, Jason Healy, New Zealand Rugby finds itself in a very dynamic environment in terms of technology. While he told ZDNet it’s a “whole lot of work,” to provide for New Zealand Rugby’s team with the latest upgraded technology, the ability to analyze data for insight, is a critical step forward.

“We look at all of the actions of the teams and the players on the field, the ball, the referee — all those types of data — they all get invested into the visual analytics platform, and then depending on the user preference, that data is essentially visualized in a way that aligns with either the game strategy that they’re trying to measure or they’re actually looking for particular insights or filling knowledge gaps that they don’t currently have,” Healy explained.

How its Done!

SAS has now completed seven seasons with New Zealand Rugby and the All Black. The relationship dates to 2013 when NZ Rugby acquired SAS visual analytics to replace spread sheets-based reporting process. Since then, the ability of Rugby’s national sporting body to take advantage of players, teams, matches and competitors’ data have evolved immensely. NZ Rugby collects and manages data for all national teams indulging All Blacks on the SAS platform, the organization has access to all sorts of information with the focus mainly on match performance data.

“I still feel there’s a little bit of living in the moment — accept the fact that the players on the field are controlling the game. It’s not us on the sideline as data-collectors or coaches or analysts that really have an impact, because we don’t see, hear, or feel what happens on the field in the same way that players do, so some of that’s got to be left up to them,” he said.

“The players are good enough to be able to take the pieces of information provided to them and then use that in a way they see fit on the field — they still have to move their hands, feet, the ball, etc.”

The world of sports has come a long way in terms of technology and New Zealand has been an active part of that evolution. We hope to see it progress further in the future.