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Sportable and Gilbert debut smart rugby ball

The pioneering sport technology company, Sportable, and Gilbert, the maker of the world’s leading elite performance ball, launched the world’s first ‘Smart Rugby Ball’ at the inaugural RugbyX tournament, capturing every movement on the pitch by both players and the ball in real-time.

The new technology provided fans, coaches and event organisers with one-of-a-kind insights into this new, faster format of the game.

The results did not disappoint with record player speeds of up to 20.4 mph captured across the course of the tournament. The fastest players from across the Men and Women’s teams were from England, Ireland and the USA.

Furthermore, the new Sportable/Gilbert Smart Ball recorded the total distance travelled by the ball throughout the tournament as 28.4 km with the longest pass made in the final by USA of 22.6 metres with a speed of 25.3 mph, spin rate of 294RPM and hang-time of two seconds. Such insight and data could prove crucial to aid coaches to track and develop technical skill sets.

In addition to providing metrics for players, coaches, media and fans, Sportable’s technology proved to be invaluable for officials too. The 3D, real-time ball tracking allowed RugbyX to enforce the new 10m kick height restrictions without interruption to play as officials were instantly alerted if the kick height limit was exceeded. With the highest kick recorded at 8m play continued seamlessly thanks to automated officiating with the Sportable/ Gilbert Smart Ball. The average chip kick height was 5.4m from a total of 19 kicks throughout the tournament.

Further capabilities of Sportable’s officiating technology include instant detection of forward passes, player-in-front-of-kicker, and offside detection allowing for accurate rule enforcement with minimal disruption to the game. RugbyX and Sportable are exploring additional use of technology in future editions.

Dugald Macdonald, CEO of Sportable, said: “It was fantastic to be a part of the super charged RugbyX tournament to see the innovations that we have honed over the past four years live in action at such a major event. With Sportable we want to revolutionize the way people engage with sport, both on and off the pitch- combining the athleticism of real life on field action with data driven insights. RugbyX was a perfect opportunity to see this come together.”

Harry Horsley, from Rugby X, added: “One of our aims in developing RugbyX was to push boundaries and take the sport to a new level and working with Sportable allowed us to do just that. The instant data feed from the live on-pitch-action not only allowed us to seamlessly officiate our new 10m kick height restriction but also enhanced the experience for fans. It will be exciting to see this technology throughout rugby and other sports.”

Working in partnership with some of the leading names in elite sport including Sky Sports and Saracens, Sportable have honed their technological advancements to offer real sporting impact. In addition to smart ball and player monitoring devices Sportable have also developed a world-first ‘Impact Wearable’. Boasting 80 smart textile sensors within the shoulders of sport garments, player impact force can be captured in real-time.

By connecting the entire field of play, from player movement, impact and the ball, Sportable is filling in rugby’s blindspots to ensure teams, broadcasters and officials have a complete picture when it comes to sports analytics. It’s this level of data analysis and proven impact that is leading to the rapidly growing sports analytics market, expected to generate a CAGR of 43.7 per cent between 2018 and 2023.

Sportable, based in London, was founded in 2015 with the objective of using technology to enhance sport. To find out more or get in touch with the Sportable team visit Sportable.com.

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