Cardiff Metropolitan University
8719 - Huw Wiltshire.pdf (4.74 MB)

Performance management and analysis in tier two international Rugby Union

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posted on 2022-10-20, 16:17 authored by Huw Wiltshire


This thesis was concerned with a performance management and analysis case study

intervention with an International Rugby Board (IRB) tier two international squad,

focusing on change. An initial interview study investigated the concept of

Performance Management (PM) in elite rugby union from the perspective of eight

leading high performance managers. The findings highlighted the importance of

people management, possessing a strategic vision, achieving simplicity and clarity

from complex issues, and creating and managing change in order to save time for

athletes and coaches. The second interview study explored the nature of Performance

Analysis (PA) in elite rugby union. The findings identified that PA involved

interpreting and filtering large unwieldy data sets, the coach-analyst relationship was

critical to success, and player-centred analysis needed to promote learning through

behavioural change. Collectively, the findings highlight that PM and PA have a

number of conceptual similarities that include a reductive approach to identify impact

metrics (measures with direct relevance to performance) that provide a basis for

context-specific feedback. Both PM and PA provide a structure and agency to a

performance learning environment by connecting the multidisciplinary components,

and improving the performance empathy of managers, coaches and athletes often in

an intuitive and instinctive manner. The critical similarity and function, however,

relates to outputs in both areas that save time for those most directly involved with

performance decision making.

In order to support the case study intervention, an integrated model of PM and PA

was designed to help investigate how change could be implemented within a tier two

international rugby union environment. The findings demonstrated the importance of

a performance review in creating a context-specific strategic plan, and the need for

performance standards that move from exceeding organisational best (peak

performance) to a level that is consistently higher than that of the majority of peer

organisations in the same sector, and over a prolonged time period (high

performance). PM creates a currency of feed forward, generates outputs that can

always be traced back to the underpinning strategy and performance philosophy, and

allows for a cut-edit-paste strategy as opposed to the blind imitation of cut and paste.

Integrated (qualitative and quantitative) performance analysis provides impact and

saves time for both the performance manager and the concomitant learning

environment by translating key trends from a reductive analysis of large data into key

performance outcomes.

The overall findings of the thesis have facilitated a greater understanding of the

development of performance management and performance analysis as a prerequisite

for performance success in elite rugby union that can be used to initiate change. In

addition, the findings have been utilised to re-design a national governing body elite

coach award course, and to develop a level six module for final year undergraduate




  • School of Sport and Health Sciences

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD

Publication year


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