The breakdown is a complex and dynamic facet of rugby union, often containing multiple players from each team. It is the responsibility of coaches and trainers to ensure players are prepared to comply with the World Rugby laws of the game to encourage safe and fair play between all participants. The aim of this study was to investigate player adherence and sanctioning of infringements at the breakdown during the knockout stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Breakdown infringements according to World Rugby laws were identified using match video recordings of the 8 matches. Each breakdown was individually analysed by coding any infringement that had occurred and the sanctioning outcome of the breakdown. A total of 898 breakdowns were coded, of which 37.7% (n = 339) were deemed to involve illegal play. 79.9% of breakdowns involving illegal play were not penalised with the majority of infringements being “head and shoulders below hips” (33.5%, n = 163), “off feet” (13%, n = 63) and “offside” (10.5%, n = 51). The attacking team were responsible for 70.0% (n = 340) of all breakdown infringements despite being penalised less than the defending team. A high number of infringements occurred at the breakdown and went unsanctioned in the knockout stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Future work focused on technology, training or rule amendments may be required to improve player adherence and sanctioning of infringements at the breakdown, such that they protect players and are in keeping with the dynamics of the modern game.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||International Journal of Sports Science Coaching|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Nov 2020|