The 2015 Rugby World Cup starts on 18 September with the England v Fiji game.
I thought I would look back to the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa to share some data about a tournament played at the end of the ‘amateur’ era of rugby union.
I attended the tournament as the performance analyst for Wales.
Recording the World Cup
Whilst I was at the World Cup, two of my colleagues from the Centre for Performance Analysis at UWIC in Cardiff recorded, notated and analysed each of the 32 games played. Their data were collected in real-time and lapsed-time. Game events were recorded in real-time whilst more granular detail was collected in lapsed-time from whole game video recordings.
My colleagues were Gareth Potter and Alun Carter. Both were very experienced performance analysts and very skilful educational technologists. They made video recordings of all 32 games to add to our growing video archive of the world game of rugby union.
Table 1 reports the totals for fifteen variables recorded by Gareth and Alun for 32 games of the tournament.
There were 187 tries scored at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. 152 of these tries were scored in the pool games (22 Pool A; 33 Pool B; 59 Pool C; 38 Pool D).
Gareth and Alun used video recordings of games to locate the set piece origin of these 187 tries (Figure 1).
Gareth and Alun have had long careers as performance analysts. The 1995 tournament was their first World Cup together. The data collected was shared with Chris Tau, who at that time was working with the International Rugby Board.
Prior to the World Cup, Gareth had been notating rugby performance since 1990. Alun played international rugby before becoming a full-time analyst.
We have no intra- or inter-observer reliability measures to report for the data here. They are shared on the basis that two expert analysts notated games in real-time and lapsed-time.
The data are presented here as indicative of what the world game looked like on the eve of the professional era.