Rugby Embracing Technology

Smart Balls On Charge Before A Test Match

Rugby has always been at the forefront of technology having a television match official long before football and again it looks like they are way ahead of everyone else. Clamping down on time wasting is going to be the biggest advancement this ball makes to the sport as like football they have problems when taking too long to play the set pieces. Football the players are at fault however as they have been allowed to take too long and is part of the tactics used to wind down the clock. The clock in football is the most abused part of the game as the clock needs to stop when the ball goes out of play or there is an injury. Players will not fake injury if they know the clock has stopped.

Having a smart ball using satellite technology relaying data back to the stadium opens up so much useful information which will only improve the game. A referee can only see so much and being an ex referee all you want at the end of the day is the right calls being made. This is not about egos which we see with the football referees as to be honest who cares as long as the right decision is made.

You may wonder where the benefits are with this technology as there are so many having played and refereed the sport these are quite obvious.

When teams kick for position on the field knowing exactly to the centimeter where that ball went out and not some linesman having a guess to the closest 5 meters. A meter either way can be an important factor in deciding a match.

Kicking for goal when the ball travels higher than the uprights did the ball travel between the posts or not. I have witnessed countless times calls that were 50/50 and were given when it was highly questionable.

Forward passes are another area that is hard to referee as you have forward momentum even though the ball is passed backwards. This can often look forward or level when it was passed backwards. Now the satellite data will have the final say on the close calls.

Time wasting which football could benefit from when the ball is stationary for too long. How much time the ball is in play along with stoppages correct times will now be addressed along with the obvious time wasting. The paying public are there to be entertained and the idea teams can whittle away 10% of a match through their antics will now stop.

Enter Skill Tracker. This state of the art performance technology allows teams to track and develop the skill sets of their most valuable players. Skill Tracker will tell teams how good players are at kicking, passing, throwing, tackling and scrummaging.


Sports are going to be driven by data and will be no different from Formula One as data improves the performance.

There is just so many benefits for this which are all positives and cannot find one negative as at the end of the day the team that deserves to win should come out on top. The 50/50 calls should not be the difference between a team winning and losing as this should be a level playing field.

The smart ball is an important training aid as well as now the kickers can calculate hang time and the number of rotations a ball does once kicked. This should allow for pinpoint accuracy with the knowledge that the players can use that to their advantage.

As an ex kicker myself I would of loved to have this information as one can now use data to increase the range of the kicks. This will take a few months as things need to be experimented upon to find the exact sweet spot along with the height kicked and the number of rotations.

I do expect the length of kicks to increase and to see the torpedo kick coming back into play as we all know the distance achieved is far superior to those kicking end over end. I would guestimate a difference of around 30% and the only reason it is not used today is the time taken to practice this technique as it can take years to master. Being bale to bend the ball both ways via the spin a bit like a golf swing as we all know a hook or a fade travel that much further than a straight drive. End over end faces wind resistance whereas a torpedo is streamlined and why the extra distance is achieved as the spin propels the ball forward in the same way a bullet spins.

Technology in sports is great as long as it is used correctly as this should enhance the sport even more as it is adding value. Sports like football need to seriously look at themselves as especially the time wasting and ball out of play as they are robbing fans of game time. Just look next time in a 90 minute football game how much time is spent on the ball during play as it is minimal.

Mr Fragile - The Fragile Pussy

One just has to look at a player like Bruno Fernandes who at the weekend ran into the referee and feigned injury. Either he is a fragile pussy or has no place playing a contact sport and needs to man up. I was gobsmacked at these types of antics as it makes you want to puke. The ref should have carded him as it was that obvious he was intentionally eating into the clock. You do that in rugby and the players will break your legs on purpose for giving the sport a bad name.

According to Opta, the average time the ball has been in play for all Premier League games this season is 55 minutes and 45 seconds. Last season it was 55 minutes and seven seconds.22 Oct 2022


That is only 60% of the match and 40% is wasted which is rather dismal. Rugby was even less being 41% out of the 80 minutes so you can automatically see the benefits of having the correct data. Rugby has the set pieces like scrums and lineouts which waste minutes of time and the clock should be stopped. Sports teams need to do better and should be in the high 80% at least or there is something seriously wrong with the sport.

Later in the week I will discuss the new tackle rules as last year in the French League 3 players died due to various types of tackles. Plenty of players die each year globally due to head injuries and the game needs to be made safer.


Time wasting for head injuries seems to be the biggest issue in football now because players know that if they go down holding their head the ref has to stop the game. For me the answer would be to have the player leave the game for a full concussion assessment then see how many of them fall over at the slightest contact with head or face

Interested to see how many forward passes might get called with this tech which were being missed before or vice versa

Yes a rule stating if you bang your head you have to go off and be assessed by an independent doctor not from your team staff. There is way too much play acting going on these days and this would make them change their tune very quickly. Imagine a footballer being told he has to sit out of all training and matches for 2 weeks due to concussion as it just doesn't happen as the medical staff will never admit to this as the coach would kill them.

This need to be adjusted, Rule makers Should stop the time counter when some player got injured or give additional time which any player could have wasted due to injury. Due to this Rule, some player waste the initially to get benefit in the game, which should be taken care strictly.

Forward passes are another area that is hard to referee as you have forward momentum even though the ball is passed backwards.

I find it infuriating when there's referee inconsistency and I find it more prevalent in Rugby League. It is easier though seeing it from a broadcasting view but there's nothing worse than conceding on an obvious forward pass.

Implementing technology on the pass would be interesting. There's lots of "line balls" in the game so I'd wonder if there'd be a tolerable allowance for error

I was also thinking the same thing for a long time that whenever a player becomes an injured in a football match, the match is not stopped and time continues. A rule should be made that when any such scene occurs, I pause for a while and start the time again when I start. When a player is the injured of one's team, the focus of the rest of the team shifts to them.