A successful lineout is a key component of team success in high level Rugby Union and yet limited research has been published on this key aspect of the game. Accordingly, the aim of this project was to quantify the most successful lineout tactics adopted by high level rugby union teams. All the lineouts (n=2211) from 6 successful Super Rugby teams (2 teams from each conference) completed during the 2014 season were analysed using standard performance analysis procedures. Variables assessed include the location on the field, game time, lineout numbers, pre-throw jumper movements, and throw type and location. Analysis was conducted using both parametric and non-parametric statistical tests. Successful teams won over 88% of their own lineout throws and intercept 16% of opposition throws. Results also showed that 7-man lineouts were the most common, particularly in attacking zones, with 4 and 5-man lineouts being increasingly more common in defensive positions on the field. The most common overall jumper movement was straight up, however, clear trends showed movements to be linked to the location in the lineout where the throw was delivered (e.g. jumpers typically moved forward to take a ball at the front of the lineout, with backward movement being common for balls delivered to the back). Overall, lineout success was shown to be multifactorial and not able to be predicted using simple regression models (i.e. one variable) for these highly successful teams. This study has highlighted the importance of having a variety of lineout tactics to avoid predictable structures.
2015 University Research Conference: Integrate, Innovate, Inspire, Sunshine Coast, Australia 13-16 July 2015