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Building the tech behind the Rugby World Cup France 2023
Since Capgemini partnered with World Rugby and the Rugby World Cup, the work we have done together has continued to grow. But whether it is the development of new statistics for match analysis or video game design, the initiatives have always showcased the talents of Capgemini colleagues.
When Mathilde Paulhiac joined Capgemini a year ago as a senior consultant data scientist working in the public sector, she never imagined she would apply her expertise to rugby. However, Mathilde has been an ardent rugby fan since childhood, so she naturally jumped at the chance to work for the Rugby World Cup. Her role? Analyzing data to develop new statistics for use in future TV broadcasts.
“Statistics are present in football, basketball, and rugby matches,” she says. “Commentators already use statistics about the success rates of kickers and the weight of packs in scrums. We wanted to go further, by gathering and processing as much data as possible from World Rugby.
“With good data, it becomes possible to look at the likely success rate of a scrum based on the players who are in it, or even predict the result of a match.” The objective is clear – to make the game clearer and more accessible, especially for newcomers to the sport who sometimes find the rules complex. As technology itself advances, so does its potential for enriching the sports experience. In our new report, A whole new ball game: Why sports tech is a game-changer, we explore the topic of technology in sports in depth, with a look towards the future.For Mathilde, it is more than a typical data science mission to create and implement a technical solution to help achieve a goal. “With the Rugby World Cup, we need to question, invent, test, and evaluate everything,” she says. “It’s a mission where everything needs to be thought of and designed.”
For Samuel Belliard it was a simple announcement posted on Capgemini’s internal messaging system that plunged him into the heart of the Rugby Legend project.
Samuel is a 3D-motion designer at frog, part of Capgemini Invent, specializing in innovation and experience strategies. His daily work involves creating 3D videos to explain a concept or solution, such as the operation of a hydrogen power station, to industrial clients.
As someone who “tells stories,” Samuel was more than happy to apply those skills in the very different setting of a multidisciplinary video game project. His mission: to create all the resources for a rugby video game in which the aim is to score the most conversions in the least amount of time.
To create the game, everything had to be imagined, from the design of the ball and the posts, to the stadium.
“As someone who mainly follows football, it was a challenge,” says Samuel. “In fact, it took me some time to find the right shape for the ball; my first drawings resembled American footballs more than rugby balls!”The game had to be designed within numerous constraints, from adhering to the guidelines defined by the art director to ensuring the final designs looked like real-world rugby.
“A first version of the game was launched in the summer of 2022, during the France 2023 rugby tour that was designed to bring the spirit of rugby to the host cities of the World Cup; the reception it got was fantastic,” says Samuel.
Further tweaks to the design saw the Capgemini team meticulously craft a digital Eiffel Tower, La Défense, and Montparnasse Tower as part of the game’s scenery.
“And, as a nod to Capgemini, we have also included the 147, our building in Issy-les-Moulineaux,” says Samuel. Small 3D animations have also been created to ensure creative transitions within the game.
Rugby Legend is a source of pride for Samuel and the entire team. “Capgemini is not known as a video game development studio,” he says. “We had to challenge perceptions to show that we were capable of achieving it in a very short time. Gaining expertise in this field has been a great development opportunity for me.”
The Rugby World Cup France 2023 will be a major event on the global sports calendar; bringing together rugby fans old and new to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the sport, it is set to be an unforgettable moment for Samuel and Mathilde, as it will be for everyone at Capgemini who has worked to build the technological infrastructure to allow the tournament to kick off and run in style.