The Super Rugby season kicks off for the New Zealand Conference tomorrow, as the Blues travel to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders. What are some of the questions that each franchise – and the All Blacks selectors – will be considering heading into their 2018 campaigns?
The tangible impact of skills coaching
Identifying and accurately charting the effectiveness of a particular coach is one of the most difficult parts of the analysis of any sport. Too often correlation between the identity of a certain individual and results – either positive or negative – is interpreted as causation, belying the unique nature of every professional team and the complexity of factors which contribute to performance. The corollary of this is not that causation cannot be attributed in this way, but that it is important to be careful in the way we attribute it and to place reliance on on-field evidence when doing so.
One aspect of rugby where conventional wisdom and on-field evidence align is the belief that regular, top-class skills coaching can have a substantial impact on a team’s performance, and for the 2017 season the Blues have recruited one of the best in the business.