World Rugby has delivered the first hat-trick of Rugby World Cup 2023 aimed at enriching the fans’ viewing experience.
Working together with Opta and Worldwide Partner Capgemini, three brand-new insights will be showcased for the first time at an international rugby tournament.
The 'Expected Points', 'Momentum Tracker' and 'Pitch Position Insights' will enhance professional and fans conversations around team analysis.
"Fans expect more data-enhanced experiences from sports, and Rugby World Cup 2023 is a fantastic, global opportunity to test these new broadcast graphics," said Virginie Regis, Capgemini's Chief Marketing & Communications Officer.
Pitch Position Insights
Any single action can sway the course of a match but the team’s starting position on the field can make a substantial difference.
Crunching data from the last three years of tests - and including matches to be played during Rugby World Cup 2023 - 'Pitch Position Insights' evaluates the zones on the pitch where the attacking team is most likely to score a try.
France, for example, have a 34% chance of scoring a try from an attacking set-piece before the next break in play when they start in this area of the pitch (see image).
Focus on attack and defence
Similarly, for defence the data has also analysed the likelihood of a team successfully defending a scoring opportunity that starts in each area of the field.
The data shows that some teams are more successful - statistically - defending certain positions than others.
For example, New Zealand's success rate defending an opportunity that starts in this zone (pictured) might be 77%.
By combining Team A's attacking likelihood of scoring with Team B's defensive capability in a particular area, the viewing fan can gain fascinating additional insight.
Expected Points (XP)
Should the captain tell his fly-half to kick for the corner? Or should he opt for the safer option and bag the three points?
It is one of the most-debated topics in rugby and will come up time and again during Rugby World Cup 2023.
Expected Points (XP) helps the viewer understand the risk and reward by offering a simple graphic using data gathered from thousands of games over 10 years.
In essence, it quantifies the expected performance of a team in terms of points and tries when their captain is making that decision.
As in other sports, the same technology can also predict what the final score in the match will be.
This XP algorithm uses various factors including the current score, how many minutes have been played and if a team have a player advantage.
For example, we can see that a penalty goal has a 84.6% chance of being kicked from that range and angle, equating to 2.54 points, as opposed to the same team's likelihood of scoring a try, which might equate to 3.09 points.
Momentum is a huge factor in rugby games, as it is in any sport.
Using artificial intelligence (AI), Momentum Tracker measures the momentum built up by each team.
The Momentum Index data feed calculates momentum by analysing each minute of the game and determining which team has the best scoring opportunity in that moment.
This includes where a team gains the momentum, or 'go-forward', through superior defensive play, denying their opponent attacking opportunities, not only when they are in attack.
The AI model takes into account the current score in the game, on-field player advantage, time in the game, field location, team in possession, phase count and pre-game score predictions.
"World Rugby are excited to be working with our valued partners to innovate rugby and the match viewing experience, delivering brand new insights for fans across the globe for Rugby World Cup 2023", said Alan Gilpin, World Rugby CEO.