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World’s first smart rugby ball to be used in FNB Varsity Cup playoffs

FNB Varsity Cup

The FNB Varsity Cup has partnered with Sportable to bring the Gilbert x Sportable Smart Ball to Africa.

The FNB Varsity Cup, which has earned a strong reputation for innovation, will use the Smart Ball during Friday’s semi-finals at Tuks Stadium as well as the final at the same venue on Monday.

The ball, which has received rave reviews in the UK and Europe, took five years to develop.

Fans can expect insightful statistics throughout SuperSport’s live broadcasts as well as awesome in-game graphics on the FNB Varsity Cup’s social media platforms.

With existing data capture technologies having hit their ceiling, ball tracking data creates a digital impression of the most meaningful on-field events. This digital blueprint is far more complex than the event data currently produced for rugby.

“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with Varsity Cup and SuperSport to bring our solutions to fans and coaches in South Africa,” says Dugald Macdonald, Sportable founder and CEO.

“Varsity Cup’s reputation for pioneering new developments in the game is second to none, so we view the introduction of the Smart Ball on Friday as just the start of a long, exciting partnership.”

The device inside the Gilbert x Sportable Smart Ball tracks the following key events during a rugby match:

  • Kicks in play

  • Goal kicks

  • Restart kicks

  • Lineouts

  • Passes

  • Possession

  • Territory

  • Ruck speed

In future competitions, the Gilbert x Sportable Smart Ball will be used to instantly detect and alert referees to forward passes.

The data metrics include:

  • Distance

  • Speed

  • Trajectory

  • Hang-time

  • Spin rate

  • Spiral efficiency

  • Reload time (time from catching to passing)

  • Start/end time

  • Start/end coordinates

  • Angle to posts

  • Kick difficulty and success

– For more information on the Gilbert x Sportable Smart Ball, visit

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