Wright, Mike and Johnston, Mark (2012) Prior analysis and scheduling of the 2011 Rugby Union ITM Cup in New Zealand. Working Paper. Department of Management Science, Lancaster University, Lancaster.
This paper describes work done for the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) in preparation for their most important wholly domestic competition in 2011. This competition had to be played during a shorter timescale than usual because of the 2011 Rugby Union World Cup, and the NZRU were keen to ensure that they could incorporate the format they wanted into this timescale without unfortunate consequences. In addition, they wanted to introduce a novel feature into this tournament. Thus some detailed prior experimental, or "what-if", analysis was necessary. This paper describes this analysis and its results. As a result of this analysis, the NZRU was persuaded to abandon one of its design ideas, but was able to proceed with others, enabling them to announce the detailed format of the competition in the confidence that it would work well in practice. Subsequent scheduling of the competition in this format proved successful, and the resulting schedule is shown together with detailed analysis of its notional costs. The paper demonstrates how important it can be for schedulers to be closely involved in tournament design in advance of the actual scheduling.
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