Rugby World Cup nations turn to technology to find winning edge

Rugby World Cup 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011Entertainment News – AFP Relaxnews – The English squad fired the first salvo long before action at the Rugby World Cup (September 9 to October 23) gets under way down in New Zealand.

By calling on the skills of the McLaren Formula One team, the English very publically turned their attention to such technological trickery as GPS and heart-monitoring systems as they chart their individual training and recovery programs leading in to the Rugby World Cup 2011.

At Rugby World Cup, more than ever before, technology is being used by each and every nation as they try to turn the odds of victory in their favor.

Clive Woodward says about Rugby World Cup

It was ex-England coach Clive Woodward who declared back in 2003 that an edge in technology had helped his side win the Rugby World Cup in Australia and current England center Mike Tindall, also part of that winning side, was recently bold enough to proclaim that other nations had since followed England’s lead.

“Everyone has caught up and is at the same level so you really are looking for that half a percent,” said Tindall.

In the host nation, though, they have been wise to the ways of technology for some time now — just maybe not so vocal about what they are doing on this Rugby World Cup.

“There’s a lot of privacy and we are not really allowed to let anyone from outside know what they are doing with us,” reveals Graeme Burborough, general manager of Dunedin-based Silicon Coach, which has developed a video analysis system used by the New Zealand All Blacks.

“It’s certainly about finding that edge, whether it be a second or a centimeter. Modern sports is so competitive and so professional that everyone is looking for that edge.”

Silicon Coach’s package allows coaches to break down individual skills — the pass, the field goal attempt — into minute detail so they can check on what a player is doing right and doing wrong.

And it’s a science that is slowly creeping into the mainstream too — Silicon Coach offers much the same package for your average weekend warrior as it does to the pros.

It’s that crossover market that helps the tech-heads afford to keep extending what it is we know about sports and performance, says Richard Snow, managing director at Auckland-based VX Sport, which produces the heart and performance monitoring system used by the All Blacks.

“It’s all about getting that extra little piece of data,” he says. “Everyone is trying to find out what everyone else is doing too. You get that in the teams and the individual players and you certainly get that in the companies who are providing this new technology. It’s a competitive landscape — just like the top level sports themselves.”

Rugby World Cup Organizers

Organizers of Rugby World Cup RWC 2011 are expecting around 90,000 tourists to join in the festivities plus an international television audience of around four billion viewers, which would put the event up there with the likes of the Olympics and football’s World Cup in terms of viewing numbers.

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