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To The Next Level

Cotter’s concern on the ‘ball in play’ issue is addressed by the development unit.
25 May 2021 15:25
To The Next Level
Namosi first five-eighth Joseva Vunisa is surrounded by the Nadroga players during the Skipper Provincial Cup clash at Thomson Park, Navua, on April 17, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Fiji Rugby Union’s development unit is working around the clock to ensure that all provincial union teams improve on the area of ball in play.

This was a critical area, Flying Fijian head coach Vern Cotter wanted to be addressed in this year’s Skipper Provincial Cup competition.

Cotter had highlighted his concern after last year’s competition.

Ball in play time is the amount of time the ball is in the possession of any of the players or is in a position where either team can contest the ball.

The no-nonsense coach pointed out that according to statistics, our ball in play time was at a low 20 minutes in 2020.

In contrast, ball in play for Super Rugby AU was 36 minutes and 15 seconds, which is two minutes more than the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Other club competitions around the globe are also averaging 34 minutes according to World Rugby.

According to Stats Perform, looking at the Rugby World Cup tournament in eight-year periods, the 1987 and 1995 editions both saw less than 30 minutes ball in play time.

The 1995 Rugby World Cup saw just 25 minutes and 45 seconds of ball in play time, compared to 34 minutes and 21 seconds in 2019– a 33 per cent increase.

This defies a common misconception levelled at the modern game, that laborious set pieces are seeing a reduction in live action.

FRU’s operations manager Sale Sorovaki said, “This is an area where the FRU development unit had been tasked to do and to manage all training and education of Fiji Rugby.”

A review of the competition headed by Cotter and other coaches was thrashed out last year in the efforts to lift our standard of play.

One of which is now tracking players through the use of GPS technology- an investment FRU had made to benefit analysts to improve the sport at the provincial level.

Sorovaki said, FRU would continue to invest more into the sport at the grassroots and age-grade levels to ensure the skill level needed to up the ante at the Skipper Provincial Cup level.

“The skill and fitness levels of players play a huge part in keeping the ball in play for as long as possible.

“An increased level in this aspect of the game can only come about when a player is correctly supported in coaching, conditioning and medical components of rugby,” he said.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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