NZ Rugby looks to analytics and AWS for competitive advantage

NZ Rugby looks to analytics and AWS for competitive advantage

Play in the Grey platform rolled out to boost the All Blacks' performance

New technology on AWS will help refine the All Blacks' game.

New technology on AWS will help refine the All Blacks' game.

Credit: Photo 11797410 © Millaus -

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has selected the Play in the Grey analytics platform running on AWS to gain deeper insights into game and improve team performance. 

Amazon partner Intela AI and data science company DOT Loves Data, both based in Wellinton, partnered to develop the Play in the Grey interactive platform with NZ Rugby in September 2019.

Play in the Grey helps coaches gain insights from game footage to inform their strategies and scout for new talent. 

The technology automates the delivery of near real-time analytics from game-play video, providing coaches with accurate game analysis free of subjective interpretation. 

Powered by Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Play in the Grey applies machine vision and machine learning algorithms to generate over a million data points about players and event patterns for every minute of video footage. 

Intela created the machine vision algorithms to capture location data from the video footage while DOT Loves Data used statistical modelling to turn the raw data into scalable and repeatable insights for NZ Rugby to explore.

Data includes details such as player locations, speeds, proximity, and running paths, all helping coaches gain new insights and competitive advantages. 

For example, if a team liked to shift the ball to the edges from set piece, push it infield, then kick to the corners, the coaches could devise strategies to counter this.

Jason Healy, performance analysis manager high performance for NZR, said Play in the Grey’s capabilities are unlike anything the teams in black have used before.

"With precise location data for all players throughout an entire game, our coaching team can devise attacking and defensive strategies based on data driven insights," he said.

Asa Cox, CEO at Intela AI, said AWS allows the Play in the Grey platform to easily scale up and down to meet demand at any given time, helping minimize operational costs and meet the timelines teams needed for the data to have impact. 

"As we look to take our platform global and into other sports like football, we plan to adopt more AWS services to support our effort to accelerate innovation through the use of big data, streaming data, and the Internet of Things,” Cox said.

Paul Migliorini, managing director for AWS in Australia and New Zealand, said the cloud is changing the pace at which organisations can access, and then use insights to innovate. 

Earlier this year, Australia's Wallabies rolled out a similar analytics system based around GPS and created by Accenture and UTS.

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Tags AWSS3ecsall blacksAmazon Simple Storage ServiceAmazon Elastic Container ServicePlay in the Grey



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