Characterization of Top-ranked Teams in Japanese Domestic Elite Rugby Union's League Competition Focusing on Game Performance in the Opposition's 22

Takuo Furukawa and Daisuke Kawabe

[Received September 5, 2021; Accepted April 11, 2022] 

The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of the top-ranked teams in the domestic elite rugby union's league competition, by focusing on game performance in the opposition's 22 in their matches. An analysis was performed on 55 matches of the Japan Rugby Top League 2021 season, with six analysis items; scoring profile, form of attack/start of play, playing time, result of play, playing activity and try scoring. The results illustrate that the top-ranked team group played in the opposition's 22 more frequently and scored many tries from a form of attack which enters in the opposition's 22 by running with the ball, in particular, with a shorter playing time before scoring a try. In addition, a higher percentage of ball possession is identified in every type of set play. Other findings of the analysis indicate that tries were scored from various starting situations of play and the tendency to show high performance not only in winning territory by actively using kicks but also winning possession by regaining kicks.

Keywords: notational analysis, rugby union, performance indicators, the opposition's 22, league competition

[Football Science Vol.19, 38-48, 2022]