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Welcome to the RPI

A unique ranking system which assigns a score to every player and team we track, based on their ability to influence a game.

How it works
  • International
  • Super Rugby
  • Top 14
  • Gallagher Premiership
  • European Champions Cup
  • Pro 14
  • Mitre 10 Cup

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3021 players, ranked by influence on games.

RugbyPass has created a next generation rugby rating system, based on machine learning and shaped by game winning moments. The system (RPI) is a world first for its complexity and comprehensive embrace of northern and southern hemisphere players and teams.

By using in-depth data analysis, RPI determines exactly what it takes to win, in real time.

How RPI scores and
rankings are calculated

  • Introduction
  • Prop
  • Hooker
  • Lock
  • Blindside Flanker
  • Openside Flanker
  • Number 8
  • Scrum Half
  • Fly Half
  • Centre's
  • Wing
  • Full Back
  • ELO Team Rankings
  • Glossary
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Introduction
  • Introduction
  • Props 1,3
  • Hooker 2
  • Locks 4,5
  • Blindside Flanker 6
  • Openside Flanker 7
  • Number 8 8
  • Scrum Half 9
  • Fly Half 10
  • Centre 12,13
  • Wing 11,14
  • Full Back 15
  • Glossary

How the RPI
scoring works

We have built a revolutionary rugby rating system based upon individual skill executed in real time in partnership with leading academics and sports professionals from around the world.

Our approach is all about winning, and the contribution to winning. We’re dealing with professional sports people – it’s not about participation and making up the numbers. Our research shows that a decent team rating system beats popular opinion. More importantly, a team rating combining individuals beats the best team rating systems. Winning a game is about winning moments – quantifying this impact provides an even richer perspective of behaviour.

This approach points us in a unique position as we can say that V is the most valuable player now, with an individual rating of W, because they rate high on X and Y which improves their team’s chances of winning by Z%.

We now know that to win games in an elite rugby environment, key moments in a game need to be won. Using a combination of demand forecasting, survival analysis and concepts from statistical process control, we have been able to quantify the impact of moments on an overall outcome. Importantly, our approach is focused on winning. That is, what does it take to win?

The emphasis on winning and predictivity ensures we obtain parsimonious models that are aligned with perception and are more readily interpretable and as a consequence, defendable. For instance, when we compared a team rating system for teams combining individual ratings with a team rating based only on team performances we obtained a 13% improvement in predictivity.

As we usher rugby audiences into a new era of appreciating the game through informed analytic insight, we need to build trust. Our framework, geared around moments, in real time lends itself to a transparent framework. Importantly, as we expand on team ratings using individuals we are in a strong position to understand and compare competitions, due to relative performance and depth of talent. We can also expand this to comparing generations, positions, partnerships, coaches to name a few issues that consumers would find interesting.

We are constructing an expert system. That is using a combination of machine learning, shaped by winning outcomes and guided by human observers, we are creating a dynamic system that will output meaningful, rugby orientated output that will stimulate, engage and challenge thinking of those interested in rugby across all levels.

Prop

A RPI prop is the champion of their team's scrums and lineouts. The best can set up an ordinary contest for game-winning moments.

The following factors distinguish the RPI prop from his fellow forward pack:

Influence

RPI uses an 'Influence' score to measure the effect a prop has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it is a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it.

Scrum Score

As the powerhouse of the forward pack, props deliver the strength to win scrums. RPI uses ‘Scrum Score' to measure a prop's scrum ability. If a forward pack turns the ball over from a scrum, the prop's player rankings grow. Conversely, if a forward pack loses possession from a scrum, the prop's player rankings suffers.

Lineout Score

Jumpers at lineouts require a steady lift to collect and steal the ball. RPI uses ‘Lineout Score' to weigh-up a prop's impact on lineouts. If a jumper wins a lineout from an opposition throw, the prop's player ranking rises. Equally, if a jumper loses a lineout thrown by their own team, the prop's player ranking pays the price.

Standard Factors

In addition to the prop's distinguishing RPI factors, they share some RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Missed Tackle

Hooker

The best RPI hookers are rock solid. Consistent and reliable, their teams trust them to throw lineouts straight and true every time. In the scrum and on defence, they'll never shirk from putting in work.

The following features distinguish the hooker from his fellow forward pack:

Influence

RPI uses an 'Influence' score to measure the effect a hooker has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it is a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it.

Lineout Score

Hookers are the specialist responsible for throwing the ball at the lineout. RPI uses 'Lineout Score' to weigh-up their impact on these set pieces. If a jumper wins a lineout from an opposition throw, the hooker's player ranking rises. Equally, if a jumper loses a lineout thrown by their own team, the hooker's player ranking pays the price.

Scrum Score

Hookers keep or turn over possession with their feet in the scrum by ‘hooking' the ball. RPI uses ‘Scrum Score' to measure this crucial role. If a forward pack turns the ball over from a scrum, the hooker's player rankings grow. Conversely, if a forward pack loses possession from a scrum, the hooker's player rankings suffers.

Jackal

Not only are RPI hookers critical at the lineout and the scrum, but the best will turn the ball over from grounded players. The Jackal score measures their ability to win possession from a tackled player, by collecting the ball from a grounded opponent while on their feet. Every time a hooker completes a successful Jackal, their player ranking climbs.

Standard Factors

In addition to the hooker's distinguishing RPI factors, they share RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Attacking
  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Pick and Go Metres
  • Snaffle
  • Missed Tackle

Locks

Top RPI locks will dominate the lineout. Regardless of who throws the ball in, they'll win it.

The following features distinguish the lock from his fellow forward pack:

Influence

RPI uses an 'Influence' score to measure the effect a lock has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it is a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it.

Lineout Take

The main priority for a lock is to catch balls thrown by their own hooker. RPI uses the 'Lineout Take' score to measure the effectiveness of a lock at managing these lineouts. Each time they successfully catch a lineout ball thrown by their own team, their player ranking improves.

Lineout Steal

The best locks won't just take their own lineouts – they'll win their opposition's too. The 'Lineout Steal' score measures a lock's ability in hostile lineouts. A lock's player ranking increases whenever they catch a lineout ball thrown by the opposition. For each successful steal, their player ranking grows.

Lineout Score

RPI uses 'Lineout Score' to weigh-up the lock's wider impact on lineouts. If any jumper wins a lineout from an opposition throw, the lock's player ranking rises. Equally, if any jumper loses a lineout thrown by their own team, the lock's player ranking pays the price.

Standard Factors

In addition to the lock's distinguishing RPI factors, they share RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Attacking
  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Pick and Go Metres
  • Scrum Score
  • Missed Tackle

Blindside Flanker

RPI blindside flankers are the true utility player. The best blindside flankers are experts at turning the ball over at breakdowns, and influence the game at confrontational moments.

The following factors distinguish the RPI blindside flanker from his fellow forward pack:

Influence

The Influence score is a way RPI measures the effect a flanker has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. This means that the special features of a players game is not lost.

Jackal

RPI blindside flankers turn the ball over at every opportunity. The Jackal score measures their ability to win possession from a tackled player, by collecting the ball from a grounded opponent while on their feet. Every time a blindside flanker completes a successful Jackal, their player ranking climbs.

Tackle Turnover

Each time possession is turned over as a result of a blindside flanker's tackle, their player ranking increases.

Snaffle

When a blindside flanker collects a loose ball in open play, RPI measures a 'Snaffle' score. The 'Snaffle' score assesses the blindside flanker's handling and positioning. The more they snaffle, the better their player ranking.

Standard Factors

In addition to the blindside flanker's distinguishing RPI factors, they share some RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Lineout Score
  • Lineout Steal
  • Lineout Take
  • Missed Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Pick and Go Metres
  • Scrum Score

Openside Flanker

While as much of a utility player as the blindside flanker, RPI openside flankers step away from the lineout - and instead focus their attention on game-winning decision making.

The following factors distinguish the RPI openside flanker from his fellow forward pack:

Influence

The 'Influence' score is a way RPI measures the effect a flanker has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. This means that the special features of a player's game is not lost.

Jackal

RPI openside flankers turn the ball over at every opportunity. The Jackal score measures their ability to win possession from a tackled player, by collecting the ball from a grounded opponent while on their feet. Every time an openside flanker completes a successful Jackal, their player ranking climbs.

Snaffle

When an openside flanker collects a loose ball in open play, RPI measures a 'Snaffle' score. The 'Snaffle' score assesses the openside flanker's handling and positioning. The more they snaffle, the better their player ranking.

Tackle Turnover

Each time possession is turned over as a result of an openside flanker's tackle, their player ranking increases.

Standard Factors

In addition to the openside flanker's distinguishing RPI factors, they share RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Attacking
  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Pick and Go Metres
  • Scrum Score
  • Missed Tackle

Number 8

Top RPI number 8s are their team's secret weapon on both attack and defence. Their passing, running, and tackling makes them the ultimate asset.

The following factors distinguish the RPI number 8 from his fellow forward pack:

Influence

The 'Influence' score is a way RPI measures the effect a number 8 has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. This means that the special features of a player's game is not lost.

Pass Complete

In unison with the half back, RPI number 8s use their expert distribution to create game-winning moments. The 'Pass Complete' score measures successful passes. Each time the number 8 completes a successful pass, their player ranking increases.

Scrum Score

Managing direction and distribution at the helm of the scrum, number 8s are a crucial element to any successful forward pack. RPI uses 'Scrum Score' to measure a number 8's scrum ability. If a forward pack turns the ball over from a scrum, the number 8's player rankings grow. Conversely, if a forward pack loses possession from a scrum, the hooker's player rankings suffers.

Attacking

RPI uses a group of measurements to assess a number 8's attacking ability. Each line break, defender beaten, and successful offload will improve a number 8's player ranking.

Standard Factors

In their role as the bridge between forwards and backs, RPI number 8s are measured on diverse criteria:

  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Lineout Score
  • Lineout Take
  • Other Tackle
  • Missed Tackle

Scrum Half

The best RPI scrum halves are the craftiest players on the field. Their passing is second to none, knowing exactly what to do with the ball – and when.

The following factors distinguish the RPI half back from the rest of the back line:

Influence

The ‘Influence’ score is a way RPI measures the effect a half back has on their team’s likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it’s a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. This means that the special features of a player’s game is not lost.

Pass Complete

As the link between the forwards and the backs, the best scrum halves have formidable handling and distribution. The ‘Pass Complete’ score measures successful passes. Each time the scrum half completes a successful pass, their player ranking increases.

Territorial Kick Metres

In their critical role at the back of each breakdown, the best scrum halves know when to kick for territory. RPI measures this with a ‘Territorial Kick Metres’ score. The more metres gained from a scrum half’s kick, the higher their player ranking.

Standard Factors

In addition to the half back’s distinguishing RPI factors, they share RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Attacking
  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Scrum Score

Fly Half

Top RPI fly halves are the brains of the bunch. They nail penalties and conversions, gain precious metres from territorial kicks, and create game-winning moments.

The following factors distinguish the RPI fly half from his fellow back line:

Influence

The 'Influence' score is a way RPI measures the effect a fly half has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. Every positive touch of the ball leading to gained territory or points on the board increases their ranking.

Goal Success

Most fly halves are responsible for kicking penalty goals and try conversions1. RPI measures their ability to accurately strike the ball with the 'Goal Success' score. For every successful penalty or conversion kick, a fly half's player ranking will increase.

Attacking

The best fly halves read the play and are often the inspiration for attacking plays. RPI uses a group of measurements to assess a fly halves attacking ability. Each line break, defender beaten, and successful offload will improve a first five's player ranking.

Territorial Kick Metres

Given their ability to kick the ball with precision and power, fly halves are effective at using their boot to gain territory. RPI measures this with a 'Territorial Kick Metres' score. The more metres gained from a fly half's kick, the higher their score.

Standard Factors

In addition to the first five's distinguishing RPI factors, they share some RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Missed Tackle
  • Other Tackle

1 Non-kicking fly halves are still rewarded be the Influence score.

Centres

Top RPI centres are workhorses. By running attacking lines and making crunching tackles at the defensive line, they are often the difference between a winning moment and a losing one.

The following factors distinguish the RPI centre from the rest of the back line:

Influence

The 'Influence' score is a way RPI measures the effect a centre has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. This means that the special features of a player's game is not lost.

Attacking

The best centres turn each offensive moment into a game-changing result. RPI uses a group of measurements to assess a centre's attacking ability. Each line break, defender beaten, and successful offload will improve a centre's player ranking.

Break

RPI uses a 'Break' score to specifically measure metres gained from line breaks created by a centres offensive ability. The more metres gained from a break, the higher the centre's player ranking.

Standard Factors

In addition to the centre's distinguishing RPI factors, they share RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Carry Metres
  • Other Tackle
  • Missed Tackle

Wings

Needless to say, the best RPI wingers are fast, strong, and smart. They are renowned for their ability to turn a high ball into a game-winning moment.

The following factors distinguish the RPI winger from the rest of the back line:

Influence

The 'Influence' score is a way RPI measures the effect a winger has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it. This means that the special features of a player's game is not lost.

Attacking

As the last man in most offensive plays, the winger plays a critical role in creating game winning moments. RPI uses a group of measurements to assess a winger's attacking ability. Each line break, defender beaten, and successful offload will improve a winger's player ranking.

Territorial Kick Metres

Wingers are often responsible for returning opposition clearance kicks. RPI measures this with a 'Territorial Kick Metres' score. The more metres gained from a winger's kick, the higher their player ranking.

Try Saver

To measure a winger's critical tackling ability, RPI uses a 'Try Saver' score. Each time a winger makes a successful tackle as the last line of defence, RPI increases their player ranking.

Standard Factors

In addition to the winger's distinguishing RPI factors, they share some RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Break
  • Carry Metres
  • Defensive Catch
  • Line Tackle
  • Mark
  • Other Tackle

Fullback

Top RPI fullbacks are gritty players, with pace and a powerful boot. As the last line of defence, the RPI fullback is a try-saver. Comfortable under the high-ball, top RPI fullbacks can turn games around within split seconds.

The following factors distinguish the RPI fullback from his fellow back line:

Influence

The 'Influence' score is a way RPI measures the effect a fullback has on their team's likelihood of winning. If they are involved in a play 2 minutes prior to a winning moment, their player ranking climbs. Conversely, if it's a losing moment, RPI will punish them for it.

Try Saver

To measure a fullback's ability as their team's last defender, RPI uses a 'Try Saver' score. Acknowledging the critical role of the fullback in defending when the opposition breaks the line, each time a fullback makes a successful tackle as the last line of defence, RPI increases their player ranking.

Fielding Kicks

Mark

A player (usually a fullback) can call 'mark' when they catch the ball behind their own twenty-two metre line, preventing opponent players from tackling them, and giving their team a free kick. RPI measures a fullback's strategic catching ability with the 'Mark' score. Each time a fullback successfully calls a mark, their player ranking climbs.

Defensive Catch

RPI measures a fullback's ability to compete for, catch, and manage a high ball with the 'Defensive Catch' score. Each time a fullback makes a clean defensive catch (where the opposition makes the kick), their player ranking improves.

Standard Factors

In addition to the fullback's distinguishing RPI factors, they share some RPI factors with other positions. These factors are crucial for any top rugby player.

  • Attacking
  • Carry Metres
  • Line Tackle
  • Missed Tackle
  • Other Tackle
  • Territorial Kick Metres

ELO Team Rankings

The Elo rating system, originally developed for chess, is increasingly being applied to mainstream sports.

Here it is used to derive team ratings and predict match outcomes for international and domestic rugby union tournaments.

Two modifications are proposed to improve the performance of the Elo system in this setting. The high scores typical in the modern game of rugby allow us to replace the binary win/loss match outcome with a points ratio bounded between zero and one.

We show how this modification makes ratings trajectories both more stable and more accurately reflective of performances. Secondly, accurate initial ratings are efficiently determined by constrained optimisation on a small training set.

We also account for home ground advantage, which is an important factor in rugby. Once ratings trajectories have been computed, a logistic model is trained to predict win/loss outcomes from ratings differences.

The Elo learning rate k and lasso regularisation parameter C are then optimised for predictive performance, using a cross-validation scheme which respects the time structure of the match schedule.

Finally, a novel interpretation of the learning rate k is proposed.

Glossary

Note: Glossary includes factors unique to players not listed in this document.

Attacking
Measures line breaks, beaten defenders, won penalties and successful offloads
Break
Measures line breaks specifically
Carry Metres
Measures metres gained from running with the ball
Defensive Catch
Measures balls caught from an opposition kick
Goal Success
Measures successful conversions and penalty kicks
Influence
Measures the impact of a player 2 minutes prior to a winning moment
Jackal
Measures possession won from a tackled player
Line Tackle
Measures tackles made at the defensive line
Lineout Score
Measures lineouts won, attributed to those involved in the lineout
Lineout Steal
Measures lineouts thrown by the opposition and attributed to the jumper that steals possession
Lineout Take
Measures lineouts thrown by a jumper’s own team and attributed to the jumper that successfully takes the ball
Mark
Measures the ‘mark’ call made by a fullback following a catch behind the twenty-two-metre line
Missed Tackle
Measures unsuccessful tackles
Other Tackle
Measures successful tackles made past or away from the defensive line
Pass Complete
Measures successful passes
Pick and Go Metres
Measures metres gained from runs straight off the back of a breakdown
Scrum Score
Measures scrums won, attributed to each player involved
Snaffle
Measures loose balls collected from open play
Tackle Turnover
Measures possession turned over from a tackle, attributed to the flanker that made the tackle
Territorial Kick Metres
Measures territory gained from a kick
Try Saver
Measures last-defender tackles made by the fullback
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