Variables in Play Which Best Discriminate Between Victory and Defeat in Equally Matched Rugby Matches

Luís Miguel Teixeira Vaz

David Carreras i Villanova

Alain Mouchet

*Corresponding author: Luís Miguel Teixeira Vaz

Original Language

Cite this article

Teixeira Vaz, LM, Carreras Villanova, D., & Mouchet, A. (2011). Variables in Play Which Best Discriminate Between Victory and Defeat in Equally matched Rugby Matches. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 105, 51-57.



The current development and level reached by competitive rugby requires higher and higher levels of performance, needing detailed analysis both in training situations and in the competition itself. The proposal of this study was to identify the statistics which best represent victory and defeat in International Rugby Board (IRB) matches of equally rated groups and Super 12. In total, the sample consisted of 159 rugby matches, divided into two groups: (i) one of 64 IRB matches and (ii) the other of 95 Super 12 matches. The variables analysed were subdivided into moves in play (passes made, sanctions imposed, recovery of the ball), and variables in result (tries, conversions, points scored from penalties). The statistical procedures were i) initial exploratory analysis, ii) analysis of conglomerates and iii) a discriminating analysis allowing the matches to be associated among themselves, having defined as a criterion of grouping the final difference in points in the matches. The results showed that equally matched games occurred in greater number and that the greatest contribution to the final result of the matches came from tries. The teams that won the equally matched game, defended more (making  ore tackles), committed fewer errors in possession of the ball and used a better variety of forms of play (play with the hand and with the foot). Understanding the reasons which contribute to the success or failure of the teams in these equally matched games allows the training of the players to be more specific and contributes decisively to improving the sports performance.

Keywords: Discriminating Analysis, game analysis, rugby.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Received: September 28, 2010

Accepted: November 10, 2010

Published: July 01, 2011