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IRFU #Analytica2020 Webinar – Day 2 Discussion Topics Explored

IRFU #Analytica2020 Webinar – Day 2 Discussion Topics Explored

As the second and final day of the  IRFU #Analytica2020 Webinar approaches we take a look at the topics the panels will discuss tomorrow Thursday 28th May.

The aim of the two day conference is to broaden the knowledge of how sporting performances are prepared for, analysed in real time, and reviewed, and the role of analytics within each facet of performance.

A fantastic line-up of speakers has been assembled over the two days and all monies raised will go to our nominated charity Pieta House.

Registration closes today at 21.00hrs (IST/GMT+1)

Register Here:

All times shown are IST/GMT+1

PANEL 1: 11:05 – Lions and Laptops: Performance Analysis at the Lions 2017 Tour to NZ:

Rhodri Bown  (Head of Performance Analysis, Wales Rugby Union & Lead Analyst B&I Lions 2017)

Mike Hughes (Director, Insight Analysis & Analyst B&I Lions  2017)

Vinny Hammond (Head of Analytics and Innovation, IRFU & Analyst B&I Lions 2017)

Jamie Hamilton (Head Performance Analyst, All Blacks)

Selection for the British and Irish Lions is seen by many as the pinnacle of a rugby players career, and one of the most unique teams in sport. Equally so, for the backroom staff. The opening panel focuses on the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017. Having not won a tour in the land of the long white cloud since 1974, rival analysts from England, Ireland and Wales came together to plan against the World Champion All Blacks, ending in an eventual drawn series. Add to this panel the views from the opposition All Blacks, this is sure to be an interesting start to the day ahead. The panel will discuss…

  • how rival analysts come to work together, weeks after competing against each other?
  • the preparation for an unknown opposition?
  • differing learning styles between players from different countries?
  • reviews and previews with a three-day turnaround?
  • analytical differences between north and south

PANEL 2: 11:40 – The Little Black Box – Bringing GPS and Tracking Data to Life

Professor David Sumpter (Author and Professor of Applied Maths, FC Hammarby)

Jason Cowman (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach, Ireland Rugby Team)

Sudarshan Gopaladesikan (Head of Sports Data, SL Benfica)

In European sport, football clubs have been seen to lead the way in their use of GPS and advanced tracking data to better evaluate on-field performance and off-field recruitment. This technology allows access to previously unimaginable levels of information, allowing clubs to create advanced statistical models to maximise a team’s performance and preparation. Taking the best of this technology and combining it with a clubs existing coaching expertise has led to clubs such as Liverpool seeing large returns on investment. The new challenge for teams is to take these theoretical models away from the screens of scientists and bring them to life on the field. The assembled panel offers up a perfect storm of expertise, with a Professor of Mathematics, Head of Data with one of football’s European greats, and the Ireland rugby team strength and conditioning coach discussing:

  • tracking data and its application in football
  • xG explained
  • how a mathematical model created in the 1800’s is applied by Champions League winning clubs
  • how rugby utilizes the tracking data to evaluate recovery, exertion and performance
  • how coaches and scientists apply the information on the pitch

PANEL 3: 12:15 – Talking Numbers:

Brian O’Driscoll  (Former Ireland and B&I Lions captain)

Padraig Harrington (3 time Major Winner & European Ryder Cup Team Captain)

Brian O’Driscoll, Ireland’s most capped international rugby player, captain of Ireland and the British and Irish Lions will discuss with three time major winner and current European Ryder Cup Team Captain Padraig Harrington the numbers that matter to them in preparation and review of performance.

PANEL 4: 13:30 – Data Under Pressure: When the Gut Takes Over in Decision Making

Rory Best (Ireland & Ulster captain, OBE)

Cpt. Caroline Curley (Pilot & Line Standards Captain, Aer Lingus)

Prof. John Ryan (Consultant Emergency Medicine & Leinster Rugby Team Doctor)

Rebel Ideas, published by Matthew Syed, makes the argument that individual intelligence is sometimes not enough to tackle complex problems and argues towards a more ‘cognitive diverse’. Decision making in healthcare, sport and business has moved quickly to leverage big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence in order to improve returns in outcome, performance and profits. However, with the increased volume of information comes the challenge of extracting the truly meaningful and actionable data. How sport and other industries have leveraged these insights will shape their sectors for the decades ahead. A panel blended of an Irish rugby captain with industry leaders from emergency medicine and aviation should make for interesting debate.  The panel will discuss

  • the role of big data in decision making
  • what sport can learn from healthcare / aviation, and what the world can learn from sport
  • developing and analysing data driven decision making
  • how estimated breeding values in bulls relates to expected goals models in football
  • how can all this knowledge be applied in life and death scenarios

PANEL 5: 14:05 – Data in the Media

Alison Lukan (Journalist, The Athletic)

Murray Kinsella (Journalist, The42.ie)

Tom Savage (Journalist, ThreeRedKings)

In North American sport, fans have been consuming data driven coverage for decades.  It is a more recent phenomenon across European sport and particularly in rugby where statistics and detailed match analysis are significant growth areas.  With a sea-change in consumer appetite for this type of content, the panel of Irish rugby journalists will combine with The Athletic’s data driven story-teller Alison Lukan, to discuss:

  • how sports coverage is evolving to meet the demands of a more knowledgeable and more engaged fan
  • if the media are responsible for creating an appetite for data
  • short vs long reads – how are consumption habits influencing media output
  • does professional sport support or reject media performance analysis?
  • the least relevant statistic or metric being used in sports media coverage!

PANEL 6: 14:40 – The Rise of the Machines: eSports and Beyond

Chris Chayney (Founder EVL Interactive)

Damien O’Donohoe (CEO, IKON Media and Entertainment)

Jamie Heaslip (Former Ireland and B&I Lion & current Head of Marketing, Flender)

The penultimate panel switches tack to the emerging sports that are making waves. eSports is seen as the fast growing form of entertainment in the world, with video game revenues totalling $139 billion annually. Many professional football clubs have moved to create their own teams and leagues. PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) for example, took third prize in the Dota 2 2019 world championship; the winners prize was just short of $16 million dollars. To help explain the surge and take a look at what might be next, we’ve assembled a panel who are fully equipped to bring us in to the world of gaming and beyond! The panel will discuss:

  • eSports explained; the why, how, what and where!
  • how players are recruited, managed and trained to compete at the highest level of eSports
  • how professional football, F1 and NFL teams have moved to take a stake in the area
  • how a gaming team known as Munster Rugby Gaming will now feature in a new League of Legends tournament in 2020

PANEL 7: 15:15 – The Review:

Andy Farrell (Head Coach, Ireland Rugby Team, IRFU)

Vinny Perth (Manager, Dundalk FC)

Paul O’Connell (Former Ireland, Munster & Lions captain)

The panel will discuss:

  • the preparation and construction of a post-match team review
  • assessing the usefulness of new technology available to the professional coach
  • how different learning styles are accounted for within a large playing group
  • to what extent does the philosophy of the coach dictate the philosophy of the feedback
  • some practical advice for amateur coaches reviewing their teams performance