Hugh Jenner, the Sale Sharks Head of Performance Analysis, gives insight into how video analysis improves his players and his team’s performance.

Formed in 1861, Sale is one of the oldest clubs in English rugby and have long set the standard for the sport in the north of England.

The Sharks are one of only five teams to win the Premiership in the past 20 years. Their Head of Performance Analysis Hugh Jenner is at the forefront of facilitating an analysis programme that’s reaping rewards in both training and on-field performance.

Jenner has honed his craft across the world, from Georgia to the Russian national rugby team.

After being part of the Russia’s first ever qualification to the Rugby World Cup in 2011, he followed coach Steve Diamond all the way back to the U.K..

Diamond has been somewhat of a revolutionary figure at Sale since his appointment, with video being one aspect that has become an increasing influence over the past seven years.

“For us, video is the foundation of everything we do during the week,” Jenner said. “It’s a massive part of how we plan for our opposition and identify trends and statistics in preparation for our upcoming fixtures.”

Preparation starts with training, and Jenner’s analysis team utilise Sportscode at every opportunity to quickly provide players with the analysis they need.

“We capture training live and code live,” says Jenner. “Rather than taking it from a camera and importing manually, we can quickly have the coded footage available from both a pitchside angle and from an aerial drone view as well.

“We then upload footage from both angles to our internal servers and to Hudl for player review.”

“Without video I don’t think we would have anywhere near the performance improvement that we have had” Hugh Jenner

Any rugby coach worth his salt will drill the importance of the set piece—lineouts and scrums.

A list of the lineouts the team will run during the week will be organised and uploaded to Hudl. Players can then use the Hudl app to view via mobile device.

“In the past we used a private link on YouTube, which was uncoded footage,” Jenner said. “With Hudl it’s rapid to upload and players can watch coded footage with text overlay feedback to review.

“It’s really one of our key platforms, the players love it.”

On game day, the Sharks have a live setup involving one analyst on the sideline and four coaches with shared timelines allowing them to relay messages throughout the game.

“Our sideline analyst is focused on set-pieces, so if our scrum or lineout guys want to watch something, that’s already there clipped up for them to analyse,” Jenner said. “We can also quickly export clips for halftime analysis.

“A game of rugby is 80 minutes long, but can go by in a flash, so it’s important for us to have these capabilities at hand.”

The Sharks have improved from a 10th place finish last season, to finishing in the top half of the table in the 2017/18 edition of the Aviva Premiership. Video analysis has no doubt played a crucial role in this rise up the table.

“Without video I don’t think we would have anywhere near the performance improvement that we have had,” Jenner said. “Video is now one of the key foundations for our club as a whole.”