Ears stretched in the fray, noses broken under the quads of opponents. Rugby is not football, and you can see it right away. Yes, the field is green, nothing new but there is also a door in the shape of an H, it is called the goal, one centimetre beyond the white line and marks the points on the scoreboard. OK so you have to take the ball with your hands to the bottom of the altar, running forward but passing it backwards to one of the other 14 team-mates.
Head of performance: the rugby ghost player
He is the man who becomes the point of contact between players, training and technology: "We make use of external resources and technological tools that can help us understand the starting level and track improvements, also creating work protocols on days of training without contact with the goal of managing injuries while maintaining a high level of fitness. In any case, we prefer to work with the sniper rifle principle, rather than with the pump rifle. Every athlete is different and, based on the tests carried out and the feedback from these tests, it is possible to adapt the workload".
Real time data: the technology that leads to the goal
In short, you don't look at the stars to see what way to go to train a national team but, for example, raising a drone in the sky is a good strategy. Already, a camera in flight over the field brings a new perspective of observation compared to that from the edge of the field: "The drone has its importance in the quality of the image it produces - explains Simonluca Pistore, video analyst assistant of the Italian Rugby Federation - with a photograph from above that allows us to see well the disposition of the players on the field, to understand their depth and distribution during the actions.”
Statistical technology and intuition, two good teammates
Because this and many other sports is a challenge that is now played on the field of data and their aggregation, but always to support the choices of professionals, as confirmed by Atkinson: "Of course, technology has a growing impact in the world of professional rugby and, since it is the individual details that make the difference, all these tools gain value if they have an impact on the development of the athlete. That is, I believe that technology can enable us to make the best choices, but that it cannot replace the human aspect and perception in the selection process".
Men and reports, players and fatigue, sweat, an inch at a time to the goal.
As Al Pacino would say in Every cursed Sunday: "This is being a team of my lords, either we rise now as a collective or we will be annihilated individually".