Rugby players are physical monsters, but not to the point of possessing a muscle unknown to ordinary mortals, between the shoulder blades. However, it is quite easy to notice this protuberance in the upper back of athletes during this Rugby World Cup. This small bump is an electronic box and its protective case, slipped under the players' jersey in a pocket provided for this purpose or in a kind of harness worn under the athletes' liquette. This box is positioned above the players' number and therefore does not escape the watchful eye of the public.
The electronic device contains a GPS sensor and other measurement tools. It records performance data, such as the speed and acceleration of rugby players. This data can be collected live by the technical staff and analysts of the various selections and clubs. They are also used between matches and training, in order to present reports to the players, to identify their strengths or their areas of progress.
Trainers are thus aware of the distance traveled by their foals. They also collect data about their physical condition, such as heart rate. Practical, when it comes to choosing an element to replace during the game.
The machine, easily spotted, is it not embarrassing or even dangerous for athletes under the threat of muscular tackle, never far from spreading out on the lawns. "It's not at all embarrassing," promised Emilien Gailleton, reserve of the XV of France, to the Republic of the Pyrenees. Sometimes when you're on your back, you can feel it, but anyway, you're in the game. »
The sensor weighs about 70 grams and is placed rather cleverly. With their muscular backs and trapezoids, rugby players are rather protected when they fall to the ground.