5 more surprising ways that Rugby has changed in the past decade

Rugby is a game that has stood the test of time, but although there are some things that have stayed the same, there are also plenty that haven’t!


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Technology has changed the way we play and watch rugby, as have a number of other facets. Let’s take a look at a few more ways this great game has changed.

The ball

The days of whether or not the ball has made it over the try line are over, even if buried in the bottom of a scrum. American scientists have developed a rugby ball that tells a referee whenever a try has been scored, as it relays a signal to an antenna on either side of the field. This means that there’s never any doubt as to whether or not the ball has been grounded and results are accurate and unbiased.

The pitch

In the past, if rugby was played in wet weather, it was almost impossible to tell the two teams apart, as the pitch turned into a muddy mess. These days, pitches are in far better condition, or fake turf is used to create a realistic surfacing that’s far less destructible. The added bonus of more robust pitches is that sponsorship logos are more prominently displayed and don’t get covered by mud.

The kit

In the past, rugby shirts were manufactured from cotton, but these days they are made from synthetic materials that breathe, improve player performance and can even relay information via sensors back to a central data processing point. Heavy, baggy shirts have made way for lightweight, fast drying shirts that cling to the body.

Mobile Analytics

Mobile devices and wearables have made collecting and tracking data so much easier. Player performances during a match, or when completing rugby drill video exercises, such as those available at, can easily be measured and monitored and weak points pinpointed and worked on.

Video referees

In 2001, it was announced that every Rugby Union game would have another referee. This fourth official was known as the television match official, or TMO, and was designed to help refs when their vision was obstructed. The TMO is usually used when the ball is buried under players, and is often the deciding vote when it comes to a ruling.

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