Ex-Trade Me developer teams up with All Black leaders

Rugby coaching website built on open source platform

Former Trade Me developer Rowan Simpson has joined forces with All Black coaches and players to launch a coaching website.

The website therugbysite.com was built using Ruby on Rails open source software. It features videos of coaching tips from All Black coaches Graham Henry and Wayne Smith and players Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

All four contributors are also investors in the venture called New Ground Media Limited, as is Simpson’s development company Southgate Labs. The majority shareholder is Brendon Ratcliffe, a former New Zealand Rugby Union staffer.

The 15 and 30 minute videos, which cost up to $19.95 each, are streamed using technology from Brightcove. Once users have paid for a video they can view it as many times as they like by logging into the website, but they can’t download the video.

“The main challenge was setting up the streaming so that people all around the world can consume this content. The relationship with Brightcove has provided that platform,” says Simpson.

However, Brightcove’s media player is a Flash-based solution so the videos can’t be played on iPads or iPhones. Simpson says the next step is to build an application so that people with those devices can use them to view the content.

“In terms of video streaming, the websites are all hosted on the Amazon web hosting platform so we would probably look to host videos for the mobile applications.”

Simpsons says the goal is to build content, not only from New Zealand coaches and players, but from rugby professionals around the world.

While it might appear the Rugby World Cup would provide an excellent opportunity to film coaching videos, Simpson says the site is unlikely to provide any tips that might expose the All Blacks’ strategy to the opposition.

“As I understand it the All Black coaches and players have agreed that there won’t be any media commentary during the world cup and so we’ll be no exception to that.”

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