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The Relative Importance of Ability, Luck and Motivation in Team Sports: a Bayesian Model of Performance in Rugby

by   Fernando Delbianco, et al.
Universidad Nacional del Sur

Results in contact sports like Rugby are mainly interpreted in terms of the ability and/or luck of teams. But this neglects the important role of the motivation of players, reflected in the effort exerted in the game. Here we present a Bayesian hierarchical model to infer the main features that explain score differences in rugby matches of the English Premiership Rugby 2020/2021 season. The main result is that, indeed, effort (seen as a ratio between the number of tries and the scoring kick attempts) is highly relevant to explain outcomes in those matches.


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