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The Evolution of Technology in Rugby

The Evolution of Technology in Rugby

Are you a rugby fan or just looking to expand your knowledge? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the evolution of technology in rugby.

With technology having a significant impact on the ways in which we view and engage with sports on a daily basis, rugby is one of the latest sports to be affected by technological advances in the sporting industry. From televised matches to gumshield technology, continue reading to familiarize yourself with the evolution of technology in rugby.


A TMO, or a Television Match Official, is someone appointed to assist the referee in determining whether points have been scored or if foul play has been detected. With televised rugby matches the norm today, greater coverage provides an extra layer of accuracy and precision. If certain elements are missed, games can end up being misinterpreted or called at 50/50. For example, during the Lions tour of South Africa in 1974, players got involved in a brawl in an attempt to avoid a player being singled out by the referee for fighting. If technology had allowed it back then, this decision would have been unfolded by a TMO.


When it comes to the evolution of technology in rugby, Hawk-Eye is changing the game. It is the name given to a computer vision system that visually tracks the trajectory of the ball and predicts its most likely path. As well as rugby, it has also been utilised in football, cricket, tennis, badminton, hurling and volleyball. It is commonly referred to during online betting to calculate ever more accurate live odds. It is not officially infallible but has been accepted by a number of key governing sports bodies as a means of adjudication assistance to referees, umpires and other officials.

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 GPS technology has been adapted in recent years to track rugby players as they move around the pitch. By studying the resultant data, clubs can analyse fitness levels, injury prevention, and general performance. It is a great way to gain a valuable insight into the technique of each and every player as well as how the entire team could adjust their strategy going forward. There is a wide range of GPS trackers available on the market today for all leagues of the game. With the option to tap into personal statistics, event timelines, Bluetooth and even social media sharing, GPS tracking has revolutionised rugby.

Referee Cam

With Referee Cam, fans can get a slice of the action from the referee’s point of view. With cameras only able to get so close, viewers can get up close and personal with the only non-player on the pitch and make up their own minds. With the camera fitted to the referee’s existing headset, the technology already exists. It can also help critique referee performance and have a positive impact on decision making during rugby matches on a global scale.

Smart boots

Contending with different weather elements is a common problem for rugby players and clubs. If it starts to rain heavily during a game, gameplay can be impacted in a number of ways. Smart boots, however, are designed to adapt to changing weather conditions and cause the least amount of disruption during any sudden weather changes during play compared to standard rugby boots. They can also extend their studs further into the ground to improve traction and grip during wet conditions, so players are less likely to fall victim to a number of weather-related injuries.

The evolution of technology has impacted the sport of rugby in several ways. By analysing resultant data, players and teams can adjust their playing strategy and improve pitch performance going forward. From TMO and Hawk-Eye to GPS, Referee Cam, and Smart boots, technology is set to safeguard the future of rugby and ensure it is accessible to more people than ever before.

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