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“Rugby is a very tactical sport where positioning is very important. Maintaining lines on the field is essential, there is no amount of freedom like in football.” Marcos Fernandez gives context to the new game they have in Oviedo Rugby. The Carbayones want to take a step forward in their training and this season they are using a drone to review plays and situations on the field, with the aim of improving their performance. They are not the pioneers, as teams like Canada or Scotland have used them to prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but in Spain there is no record of another team using these resources.

Drone flying over Oviedo rugby training session. | Louisma Morillas

“In rugby we always try to see from above, but since our platforms are not very high we had to give coconuts. It came to my mind to use the drone and the club really liked the idea,” explains Fernandes, a member of the coaching staff and the person in charge About making the machine fly. Its main use is to record so-called static positions, such as scrum, and to correct positions. “It’s hard to see things from below, especially positions within scrum. This allows us to have better analysis when pushing,” he says. But they don’t just use it for this kind of work. “They are also very useful for lateral kicks,” Fernandes adds. “From the air we can practice different cross passes for the players, which are essential during matches.” They are even able to see plays as many times as they need, they can see that the ball is going straight so they don’t make mistakes.

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Marcos Fernandez’s work isn’t just useful on set pieces. “For open play, it is also useful, although we use it less. It allows us to see a little if the players are in order and that there are no diagonal paths, which means that time is wasted when attacking. It gives a lot of play,” Carpayon admits.

Oviedo’s training staff are delighted with the new tool. Says the player from the Oviedo team. The videos recorded by the drone are transmitted directly to a tablet, where the training team can monitor the plays of interest to them. “I download the videos and do a little montage at home, so the next day they can summarize it and show it to the players,” Fernandez explains.

On the other side of the equation are the players who now have a spectator hovering over their heads. “They only realize at first, and then when they’re really interested in it, they don’t listen. I don’t put it perpendicular to them, so it annoys them, only on certain occasions. It’s usually a little loud, so that’s no problem,” explains Fernandez.

The technology behind it carries more work than it appears. “It’s a big effort, especially to get started,” says Fernandez, who must also notify the authorities and listen on the radio. “It took months to train as a driver and start with all the paperwork. After doing it once, I’m not lazy anymore.”

With this boost, Oviedo will make her home debut tomorrow on her new run at División de Honor B. After comfortably losing the first game in Santander, the Blues are looking to beat Hernani (El Naranco, 12:00).

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Amber Cross

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