January 03, 2020
A research project has found that professional rugby union players are being so closely monitored they are starting to think more about their own results than those of the team
Body fat recordings and mood scores: has technology gone too far in rugby? | Paul Rees
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the decision to end more than a century of amateurism at a stroke and make the game open. The change has been profound, and not just because players became employees on a payroll rather than “rewarded” in a variety of ways that either breached or circumvented the old rule. The essence of the sport is markedly different, turning from what the late Lions coach Carwyn James said should be its essence, “the enjoyment of the players,” into a job in which those at the top are handsomely rewarded but have every last drop squeezed out of them.
Fun does not come into it, as a recently published research paper by two academics at Bath University, Andrew Manley and Shaun Williams, shows. They interviewed 10 players, the head coach (who had been recently appointed) and an analyst at an unnamed Premiership club for their study and found that a number of players were concerned about how modern technology was giving clubs greater surveillance over them and creating a pressure to perform that, in the desire to be offered a new contract, put individuals before the team.
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