Here’s why the Rugby World Cup 2015 man of the match Twitter voting system doesn’t work

David HickneyRugby fans have been left bemused by some of the man of the match awards at this year’s Rugby World Cup. In this guest post David Hickey explains why the #MOTM hashtag voting is throwing up these results. 

As a global provider of social media intelligence, I was stoked that the man of the match system for Rugby World Cup 2015 has a social media element to it.

The voting system sees a shortlist of three players selected by the tournament’s world feed radio early in the second half before fans choose their preference on social media, primarily through the Mastercard #MOTM hashtag.

MOTHIt all sounds good until you look back at some recent man of the match winners, which has resulted in public outcry, discontent and many, many online articles questioning the #MOTM process:

– Wales halfback Gareth Davies, in the match against the Wallabies. While it was a try-less match, the Wallabies won 15-6 due to an outstanding defence.

– England lock Joe Launchbury, despite the Wallabies beating England 33-13 a few weeks ago. This was Australia’s biggest ever win against England at Twickenham, and 28 of those points were from Bernard Foley.

– Uruguay’s Agustin Ormachea was man of the match against Fiji – yes Ormachea scored a try but was then sent off with a yellow card soon after. Fiji was a force to be reckoned with, especially Nemani Nadolo who scored 17 points.

There are many factors that can influence the social media part of the #MOTM process, such as timing. For example, every Wallabies RWC game so far has happened in the early hours of the morning AEDT time.

Of course our die-hard fans would be awake but the majority of Aussie fans would likely be fast asleep and not likely to vote on social media before the end of the match.

Also, if fans forget to include the #MOTM hashtag when they vote on social, does that vote count? There were less than 100 conversations on Twitter and Facebook in regards to Joe Launchbury and the #MOTM hashtag.

Since the start of the tournament, the #MOTM hashtag was mentioned 1,200 times on social – can the few really speak for the many? Particularly when one side is asleep and dreaming of Jarryd Haynes’ first touch down.

Social media is a great platform for fans to share their views and comment on games in real time.

But as far as judging man of the match performance – there must be a better way.

Man of the match shouldn’t be open to this much conjecture, especially in the case of Bernard Foley’s performance against England. Perhaps a “social media’s choice” element would be better.

The Wallabies play Scotland in the quarter-final this Sunday (Monday morning AEDT). It looks like the RWC officials will change the #MOTM process for this weekend onwards, but it may pay to set your alarm clocks and support the team on social media.

  • David Hickey is the Australian Director for Meltwater, a global media intelligence provider

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