Case studies

Nice try: analytics help Saracens RFC to rugby glory

Saracen RFC uses data analytics to inform training and coaching decisions, helping the team to double championship triumph

In recent years, Saracens Rugby Club has consistently performed on the biggest stage, culminating in the 2015-2016 season with both European and Premiership glory. It was the first time in 12 years that an English team had won both competitions, and it came during a relentless season that was compressed into 8 months due to the 2015 Rugby World Cup running until October.

Saracens' journey to the top has been in the making for the past few years, and going into next season the club has established itself as one of the teams to beat in Europe, not just England.

Deloitte has been working with Saracens for a few seasons now, helping to develop an innovative solution approach to using data to interpret performance in a way specific to Saracens’ game plan.

...at Saracens we’re always looking for innovative ways to improve performance. To compete at the highest level both domestically and in Europe, we aim to develop solutions that meet our bespoke requirements. The reason we work with Deloitte is because they have helped us develop a solution that interprets performance in a way we believe is best for our team.

Phil Morrow, Saracens Performance Director

There has been an influx of data in sport, largely driven by the growth of wearables, this leaves most teams with very similar data sets. Whether it is coded during a game or taken from a GPS unit, it is how the data is used and interpreted that’s key. We’ve worked with Saracens to enable a hunch around a game to be answered or to identify the impact of a reduced training load when there’s a short turnaround between games. Having a solution that allows Saracens to quickly explore its data, and get to the underlying cause, is part of the process of understanding performance. It also provides little gems of knowledge that lead to continual improvement.

Sports teams are being forced to either embrace the increased volume of performance data and use it to inform decisions, or struggle to make sense of it. Saracens has chosen to embrace it.

Image by Matt Impey, Wired Photos

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