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From Numbers to Narratives: The Magic of Rugby World Cup 2023

By: Ben Jermy

The Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2023 featured deeper data and greater access than ever before, deeper data which allowed stakeholders to create meaningful and memorable moments for fans to enjoy. Delivered by Stats Perform in partnership with Capgemini and World Rugby, Opta data powered ground-breaking new metrics, fantasy games, editorial, broadcast, social media and so much more. South Africa broke records by becoming the first men’s team to win four Rugby World Cups, and our Limerick based Rugby Operations team broke internal records by collecting over 630,000 data points over the 48 games, that’s 13,250 decisions made per game on average!

New Stories To Be Told

RWC saw the launch of never before seen metrics for the tournament. Momentum, Expected Points (xP) and match predictions were utilised heavily on broadcast, editorial and social during the competition, giving fans a brand new perspective for every game.

Momentum visualising NZ’s ability to convert on their dominant passages in the opening 20 minutes.

Possession Outcome Insights showed fans the probability of scoring a try when attacking from specific field zones

Who Needs a Crystal Ball?

AI powered predictions featured for the first time in Rugby World Cup history sparking fan debate and giving key context to matches. The predictions provided new narratives to excite fans pre-match, inform them post-match and highlight the significance of in-game actions.

Rugby Pass used Live Win Probability to get fans talking on socials

Our Opta super computer successfully predicted the winner of the final as part of our Opta Analyst preview article (Most of the bookies had NZ as favourites)

We teamed up with Asahi Super Dry pre-tournament to predict the up-and-coming players tipped to go beyond expected at the competition.

New Delivery Methods To Transform Access… For Media Companies And Fans

RugbyHub is our all-in-one tool for rugby data and video, the tool is used by 19/20 of the competing teams, and for the first time, the rugby media too. 2023 saw the launch of RugbyHub Live, the comprehensive live data dashboard, perfect for both media and pro teams. The tool gave users access to low latency live stats and graphics, hundreds of historical and 2023 tournament data points and easy access to advanced and predictive metrics.

The RugbyHub Live dashboard gives users a detailed view of all match stats

Data For The New Age Of Rugby Fans

It is becoming increasingly important to have multiple touchpoints with casual and core fans alike, World Rugby recognises this and as a result has worked with us to supercharge the fan experience via their direct to consumer website Rugby Pass. Fans were able to access critical match and tournament information by exploring the stats page on their website.

RugbyPass’ website featured a comprehensive stats hub powered by Opta Data used by fans and content creators alike

Rugby Pass’ match centre informed fans throughout the competition with in-depth live statistics

From Pitch To Social Media Feed In Seconds

Opta data and the PressBox Graphics tool were used extensively by RWC stakeholders to create unique dataled graphics that boost audience growth on social media in articles, broadcasts and more. Together they form a simple way to quickly turn the vast Opta sports database into content to connect with fans and helps create highly sponsorable assets. We’ve also seen extensive use by broadcasters and teams at the Rugby World Cup.

Super Sport used PressBox Graphics to highlight player performances during the competition

Super Rugby Pacific used PressBox Graphics to highlight their players performances

Data-led Editorial Takes Fans Deeper

Our Data Editorial team worked with clients throughout the tournament delivering pre and post match facts and stats in a number of languages, they were also on call for any clients needing live support through our 24/7 helpdesk service. Additionally, the team worked with stakeholders to create bespoke content to provide a different dimension to their World Cup features and to better engage with their readers in multiple countries.

L’Equipe worked closely with our Data Editorial team to create multiple preview articles keeping millions of French fans in-the-loop

Giving Fans A Peek Behind The Curtain

Video played a huge part in this World Cup with several viral moments, tense press conferences and thrilling match highlights as well as stats-based analysis. We provided over 800 video clips to World Rugby during the competition, who distributed them to partners through an easytoimplement widget. Used by media giants like NBC, The Guardian and the Top14 league to name a few. We also provided video to clients via various delivery methods, formats and languages, making it simple for them to implement our video.

Video widget hosted on US sports giant NBC’s Website

Capgemini used Opta data to create their fan favourite Game Changers video series after each round


Our news team on-the-ground at the competition quizzed South African stars on their team stats. Who beat the most defenders? Who played the most minutes?

Make Every Game Mean More

Fantasy games serve as a fantastic means to captivate and sustain the enthusiasm of fans, especially when their favourite team isn’t on the field, or even after their team has bowed out of the competition.  Opta data already powering  fantasy games for the Premier League, 6 Nations (men’s and women’s), Kickbase (Bundesliga) and more. The Rugby World Cup fantasy game was enjoyed by over 300,000 worldwide fans during the tournament.

World Rugby’s Fantasy game was played by hundreds of thousands of fans 

Deeper Stories, Milestones and Record Breakers

With granular, detailed player stats for every Rugby World Cup going back to 1987, another bedrock of this tournament’s coverage has been the surfacing of records and milestones that help fans celebrate less-obvious player performances and contextualise results in more memorable ways. Wales252 tackles against Fiji in their narrow first round victory was a RWC record. Facts like these bring the watching audience closer to the performances

WRU’s website reports on Wales new World Cup tackle record

What’s next?

The Rugby World Cup 2023 has no doubt inspired a new generation of fans, and from a data perspective has been the most innovative yet. World Rugby have announced an exciting new world calendar to unite the global competitions and offer a brand new opportunity for growth in the sport. Opta data will continue to innovate and push boundaries across all rugby codes and France 2023 is only the beginning of the journey of how predictive data is going to change the way fans engage with the sport. Want to grow audiences drive revenues in rugby? Explore our comprehensive rugby offering today.

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