Wales' Rugby World Cup team using Swansea Uni app

image captionThe MatchPad was tested by the Welsh team at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium

Welsh coaches are using technology developed for them by experts at Swansea University to improve their match analysis at the Rugby World Cup.

Coach Warren Gatland and his backroom team are bombarded with statistics about scrums, line-outs and tackles during each game.

Now they are using an 'app' to simplify the information they need and understand the team's performance.

It also allows the coaches to review video of key moments during play.

The Welsh team employs three analysts whose job it is to collate data about all aspects of each game from the set pieces and restarts to tackles made or missed.

Dr Philip Legg of Swansea University's college of engineering and department of computer science said the problem was coaches were suffering from an "information overload."

The university was approached by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and has developed an app it calls the MatchPad which runs on an Apple iPad.

It produces a visual timeline during the game so analysts and coaches can review video and additional detail on the events they are most interested in simply by pressing an icon.

The portability of the device means they can access the information in the analysis box, in the changing rooms, or even at pitch-side.

Dr Legg said: "During each game the team analysts are busy recording each of the events that happen.

"They look at each scrum, line out, restart, possession won and lost and tackles.

image captionThe coaches say it helps them look at key moments during each game

"They collect so much information - that's the basic problem and the app just tries to simplify the task for them."

He said it also makes easier to pinpoint key events.

"For example imagine at half time you are in the changing room and you want to show the players what happened at a key moment - up comes the video."

The Welsh team tested the prototype during friendly matches at the Millennium Stadium before travelling to New Zealand where they are continuing to use the device.

Rhys Long, head of performance at the WRU said: "The major benefit of the product is that it gives us a good overview of how the game is going.

"It has been a very good tool in terms of looking at key instances of the game and how they interact with each other."

Dr Legg said: "It could be used in the future right down to the under 16 level.

"The unique thing about Welsh rugby is all the teams are managed by the WRU and they all collect the same data in each match.

"There's nothing to stop it being extended for use in other sports, the only thing that would differ is the amount of detail they need to go into."

Swansea University will be hosting the first International Conference on Computational Sports Analysis in April 2012 to showcase the latest innovations and collaborations between sports and computer science.

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