TECHNOLOGY within sport is moving at a rapid pace.

And in one particular area, Scottish Rugby is leading the way.

This weekend, a new Virtual Reality (VR) experienced will be launched which will, hopes Scottish Rugby, take things to the next level when it comes to technological aids, as well as giving fans a chance to experience rugby at the very top level.

The experience is created with a robotic, remotely controlled, gyroscopically stabilised 360 degree camera system that can travel at the same speeds as the players sprinting while the haptic “suit” gives the wearer realistic touches, glances and hits in training. Combine that with the audio dimension and players will feel like they are in the midst of a game.

Gavin Vaughan is Scottish Rugby’s lead performance analyst and has studied rugby teams across the world, as well as teams from a number of different sports including the NBA.

Vaughan has been heavily involved in the development of this new VR technology with BT and he believes Scottish Rugby will be in a unique position having such equipment at their fingertips when it launches tomorrow.

“We already capture the players training so we’ll get wide angles, close-up angles, head on, lots of things you don’t see on television. And we have drones as well,” he said.

“But this VR technology has given us a totally different perspective on how we train and how quickly the picture changes when you’re in the moment.

“This is something we’d not have been able to create alone so to have worked with BT to have this has been great.

“I think, long-term, this has the potential to really change things coaching-wise and I really think this could enhance things massively.

“In rugby, this is the first time I’ve seen this technology used and so it’s very exciting.”

BT initially developed this technology as a way of enhancing the fans experience of watching the game. By wearing the VR headset along with the haptic suit, it was hoped that fans could experience the sport in a new way. But it soon became clear that the elite players and coaches could benefit from the technology too.

“We developed this so that fans could get closer to the action and so they could have an experience they’ve never had before but then through the conversations with Scottish Rugby, we realised they could use it for the players,” said Matt Stevenson, BT’s Head of Brand.

“We’ve been involved with Scottish Rugby for last 4 or 5 years and we wanted to help in the performance of the game. So we’ve worked closely with them to see what technology can do with coaching and analytics and also, in this case, we can get fans closer to the game.

“I believe this is the first time these three elements have been brought together to be used in rugby so it’s very exciting.”

From a player’s point of view, the technology could be extremely important when it comes to being able to train certain aspects of the game without having to subject their bodies to the inevitable wear and tear that occurs when they are doing contact sessions.

“Training with it was really interesting – being able to watch training back from the perspective of VR was really useful,” said Huw Jones, the Glasgow Warriors and Scotland centre.

“Obviously when you’ve got the head-set on, you can’t pass the ball so it’ll be good for looking at body shapes and tactics and that kind of thing from a non-contact point of view.

“I think it’ll be a useful tool for guys to train by themselves too.

“I’d be keen to use it more – the way our week is structured, we try to get as much out of training in a short space of time but this is good because it’s pretty low-impact and doesn’t have a lot of strain on the body. You don’t need teammates around – you can use it by yourself so you can practice a lot of things alone.

“I think this will be very useful for the little extra one per cents. You obviously need physicality, skill and all of that but this could give us a little extra. So having access to this definitely will help.”