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Super Scrum Analyser Holds Big Potential For Rugby

Media release

4 June 2002


Rugby coaches are about to get a hitech addition to their coaching weaponry, and its designers believe it is possibly the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Silver Fern NZ Ltd, with staff and students from Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), are gearing up to test the prototype of a scrum analyser. It will allow coaches to analyse an individual's scrum performance and so build the ultimate rugby scrum for power and safety.

Lin Colling, Silver Fern Managing Director, says the scrum analyser is the happy marriage of a concept developed by his rugby equipment marketing company in conjunction with the applied electronic, computer and software design by the polytechnic. The four month research project was assisted by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology with $23,000 in funding through Technology New Zealand.

The scrum analyser takes an existing piece of rugby training equipment - the scrum machine- and adds an electronic sensor system linked to pads on the machine. Each pad provides readings telling a coach how each player is performing in the scrum and enables a detailed and downloadable analysis of technique and weight application. The recorded readings can be analysed in more detail on a computer at a later time.

"It has the capability to make fine comparisons on the forces within a scrum on an individual basis. It's the next generation on from existing machines which only tell the combined pushing weight," says Mr Colling. "We believe there's nothing like this anywhere in the world."

Mr Colling says the analyser will also play a role in ensuring scrums are safer. "Because a coach will be able to analyse how each player is pushing - down as well as forward- they can correct the individual technique to ensure the scrums don't collapse or pop up."

The 62-year-old company specialises in rugby equipment and products, but this is its first foray into the hitech end of the market. Mr Colling believes it will add value to the business as well as take training equipment into a new era.

Mr Collings says that although he expects there to be strong interest from rugby coaches in Australia, Europe and South Africa, he'd like to keep the innovation within New Zealand for as long as possible, to give the All Blacks every advantage in the leadup to the World Cup. The company is currently looking at on-field trials at the start of the next rugby season with a regional team.


For more information:

a.. Lin Colling, Silver Fern, 09 579 5208 (025 741 609) b.. Paul Wilson, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, CPIT, 03 940 8134, 021 164 5577 c.. Sue Pauwels, Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Christchurch office) 03 377 9340 mobile: 025 497 114.

Backgrounder 1. Technology New Zealand is a set of government-funded business support schemes that provide funding to support R&D projects in business. 2. Around $35 million is available each year to help companies develop new products or processes, build human capital within businesses and provide access to information and expertise. 3. Technology New Zealand is part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Prepared for Technology New Zealand by Jan Sedgwick, Carrara Communications, 09 579 7270

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