The pad on the rugby jersey, what is it for? Slacking or the needed edge

Wearable technology has been in sports for some time now, especially on the rugby field.

Looking at rugby player jerseys, between a player’s shoulder blades you will notice what seems as a noticeable square box under the rugby shirt.

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This is a GPS sensor or GPS pod tracker that measures a host of physical data emitted by the player.

The pad or GPS tracker measures distance covered, speeds reached and overall heart rate of players and has for the past five years been an added advantage for some teams.

The tracking device provides detailed performance data and most likely will highlight and pinpoint those caught slacking come performance review.

The feature is not only for rugby players and some teams such as Liverpool have been reported to have used the available wearable to encourage performance among a squad.

The Apex Athlete series is a good example of a Fifa-approved GPS tracker that analyses the performance of athletes in order to provide a report of their overall fitness as well as game dynamics.

Smart tech

Technology now plays a significant role in the improvement of player performance.  Tracking individual player performance allows team managers to measure and monitor performance while also intervening when necessary on the player’s declined output.

Players need consistent conditioning when it comes to match-day performance and keeping track of the overall numbers and movements of each player individually impacts the overall fitness of a player on match day.

The GPS pod which players insert into a sleeve in the back of their rugby jersey is designed and cleverly positioned to sustain collisions and scrums.

The Springboks among many other teams have added the use of these tracking pods made by STATSports which could assist in understanding how much exertion a player sustains during a match.

Image sourced from for illustrative purposes only.

Powerd by Google Maps the pods provide in-depth mapping features such as heatmaps, sprint maps, and positional replays and illustrations to allow users to save any number of pitch analyses in seconds.

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