Posted on November 8, 2019 by staff

SportTech firm and Gilbert launch ‘smart rugby ball’


Sport technology company Sportable and ball maker Gilbert have launched a ‘Smart Rugby Ball’ at the inaugural RugbyX tournament.

The ball captures every movement on the pitch by both players and the ball in real-time. The new technology provided fans, coaches and event organisers with new insights into the faster format of the game.

During RugbyX, the ball reportedly recorded player speeds of up to 20.4 mph, with the faster players from across the Men and Women’s teams from England, Ireland and the USA.

The new smart ball by also recorded a total distance travelled by the ball throughout the tournament of 28.4 km, with the longest pass made in the final by USA of 22.6 metres.

In addition to providing metrics for players, coaches, media and fans, Sportable’s technology was also used by officials.

The 3D, real-time ball tracking allowed RugbyX to enforce the new 10m kick height restrictions without interruption to play, as officials were instantly alerted if the kick height limit was exceeded.

Further capabilities of Sportable’s officiating technology include instant detection of forward passes, player-in-front-of-kicker, and offside detection allowing for accurate rule enforcement with minimal disruption to the game.

The partnership is now exploring additional use of technology in future editions.

Dugald Macdonald, CEO of Sportable said: “It was fantastic to be a part of the super charged RugbyX tournament to see the innovations that we have honed over the past four years live in action at such a major event.

“With Sportable we want to revolutionize the way people engage with sport, both on and off the pitch- combining the athleticism of real life on field action with data driven insights. RugbyX was a perfect opportunity to see this come together.”

Harry Horsley from Rugby X added: “one of our aims in developing RugbyX was to push boundaries and take the sport to a new level and working with Sportable allowed us to do just that.

“The instant data feed from the live on-pitch-action not only allowed us to seamlessly officiate our new 10m kick height restriction but also enhanced the experience for fans. It will be exciting to see this technology throughout rugby and other sports.”