New Zealand boasts many of the best and hardest working players in this year's Investec Super Rugby competition, according to statistics collected with the help of sports data technology companies Sportstec and Opta.
Player performance information gathered using technology developed by software company Sportstec, combined with information collected by sports data provider Opta, shows that New Zealand Super Rugby teams average more clean breaks per game, have the most successful scrums, make the most metres, score the most points and have the most success with goal kicking.
The data also shows that Chiefs prop Sona Taumalolo has run the ball more than any other prop in the competition; second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams has made more offloads than any other player in the competition; Crusader Matt Todd has the highest per-game average of tackles; Highlander Tamati Ellison has had the most game time; Hurricanes' fullback Andre Taylor has made the most line breaks; and Blues' boot Lachie Munro is among the best of the goal kickers.
Sportstec and Opta have been appointed the official sports data software and performance data providers for the New Zealand Rugby Union - and their technology is being used by the All Blacks Coaches as well as the coaches of all New Zealand Super Rugby, ITM Cup, Sevens and New Zealand Under 20 teams.
The combination of Opta data and the Sportscode analysis software allows NZRU to combine detailed data from all major rugby matches across the globe with the number one sports video analysis system. The All Blacks can now measure their own performance in great depth and compare it to all of their major competitors.
Opta Business Development Manager Steve Cliffe sa= id they were excited about the new partnership with the NZRU.
= "We are very proud to be the data provider for an organisation that boasts the best rugby teams in the world, including the World Champion All Blacks. The coaches and analysis teams now have access to one of the most comprehensive databases of rugby performance data available around the world and our unique level of data analysis helps them stay ahead of the game," Mr Cliffe said.
Simon Jackson of Sportstec said: "Since we started working with the NZRU we have had to advance our technology to meet the elite demands of the All Blacks. Working with teams at the absolute top of elite sport means we have to continue to push the possibilities of the software and hardware and that is why Sportstec is so excited about this partnership with NZRU.
"One of the major advances in sports technology in recent years has been the ability to monitor and influence the game while it is still in play. Teams are able to log live statistics and coaches have the ability to instantly monitor replays and statistics including cutting clips to show players during the halftime break," Mr Jackson said.
With Super Rugby coaches now well versed in the new technology, both companies have also been working with ITM Cup coaches and the New Zealand Under 20 team.
NZRU High Performance Manager Don Tricker said the Sportstec and Opta combination provided an essential part of team preparation in the modern era of professional rugby.
"New Zealand rugby prides itself on using world-class technology to measure and analyse how our teams perform and how they can improve.
"The technology that Sportstec provides, and the data collection that Opta provides, means we can break down a game to a remarkable level of detail. And while all our teams have access to the same technology, each team can use the system to suit their needs.
"This ability to analyse allows each of our teams, from All Blacks to Super Rugby franchises, to identify areas of strength, and areas that need more work," Mr Tricker said.
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