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Thursday, June 26, 2008

New TMO jurisdiction allows Sharks to seal a late win

Earlier this month a special IRB dispensation was made which allows the powers of the television match official (TMO) to be extended significantly. It is currently being trialled in South Africa’s Currie Cup competition, which kicked off on Friday, and saw the first game’s result being dramatically affected by the new ruling.

The experimental ruling gives the TMO more power than what he used to have, which was basically confined to making a decision regarding the scoring of a try.
Now, he may be referred to for an incident that occurred in a previous phase of play, anywhere on the field, as opposed to the in goal area only as in the past.

This means that not only can the referee get the TMO to check if the try was awarded fairly; it also means that at any point in the game, he can check if there has been a forward pass, a knock-on, obstruction or if any other offences transpired.

In the instance of a suspicion of foul play, he can refer to the man upstairs who will then ask the producer to rewind back to the previous phase of play and give his recommendation.

On the weekend’s game we saw this in action for the first time, as the Sharks and Western province were tied at 25-25 with less than three minutes remaining. The referee got a flag from the touch judge, who suspected unlawful use of the boot. The suggestion was then made to use the television match official to check if this was in fact correct.

After reviewing the footage, the TMO’s findings were that there was in fact trampling close to a player’s face, which resulted in a penalty to the Sharks. The vital decision meant that scrum half Rory Kockott had the pressure kick to win the game, which he duly slotted, which meant the Sharks came out winners.

This system has also been used in France for foul play, and to re-iterate, is purely on a trial basis in the Currie Cup only at this stage. It has its merits, with the goal in mind being that we all want the correct decision to be made, and dirty play needs to be stamped out of the game.

Will it slow the game down drastically though, with TMO’s taking ages over decisions, thus killing the game for the spectator? Time will tell.

Time: 03:16
Note: The video quality is a little choppy on this one. Apologies in advance.



  • thi swil b very helpful the the referees nw, it may disrupt th flow of the game tho - btw how gutted wud you b if u played for the western province lol

    By Anonymous el nino, at June 26, 2008 9:19 pm  

  • As long as they dont abuse it, I guess it will help the game, mainly because some players will be much more scared of getting caught while wrongdoing...

    By Anonymous Eric, at June 26, 2008 10:26 pm  

  • as a flanker im not sure i will like this too much if the tmo is delving into decisions at ruck time. otherwise it soudns pretty sensible as long as they dont take it too far

    By Anonymous murphy, at June 26, 2008 11:09 pm  

  • "...and dirty play needs to be stamped out of the game." Great choice of words :D

    By Blogger Oliver, at June 26, 2008 11:41 pm  

  • no no no!!! i dont want to see the TMO getting more powers! just in the goal area is fine with me!!! i can see every time the ref blows that he will refer to the TMO becasue he will be scared of the reprocutions of getting the decision wrong!! i hope this law dose not come to pass!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Alex, at June 27, 2008 1:00 am  

  • Uh oh.. Richie McCaw is probably gonna be waiting to see if this law gets passed with great interest...

    By Blogger Luke, at June 27, 2008 1:09 am  

  • very very true luke! didnt think about that! he pushes the rules to breaking point that some people may call him a cheat!!???? but i would never suggest such a thing!!!

    By Anonymous alex, at June 27, 2008 1:51 am  

  • hope this doesn't turn into league style TMOs where fans are waiting an age before any decision is made.

    boo-hoo to the Richie haters. Can't handle he's one of the greatest flankers ever ?

    you'd think if he was dodgy he'd have more than 1 yellow card in 3400+ minutes of international rugby ... stats don't lie .

    By Blogger boomshanka, at June 27, 2008 2:12 am  

  • why do the rules have to keep being changed????? Its fucking stupid completely trashing what was once a good sport!!! Now every team around the world are playing to different rules, how can that justify fair contest??

    By Anonymous will, at June 27, 2008 2:56 am  

  • yeah this is really wierd like now randomely they change the rules almost when the rugby season is over wierd. And i just want to say the whatever language they are speakin its cool

    By Anonymous Chazza, at June 27, 2008 7:18 am  

  • firstly, they're speaking south african accent. just to get THAT out of the way.

    now, onto serious bussiness, TMO should NOT get more power, it's just wrong.it may be, some chirpy scrum half like TMO thinks he's to superior for just deciding tries.

    your thoughts...

    By Anonymous Harry Oliver O'Neill, at June 27, 2008 8:05 am  

  • It's an interesting ruling, and one I'll watch keenly throughout the Currie Cup. I've already seen it used a few times on the first weekend. Once was even to check for a forward pass before a try was scored, so the Kiwi fans should encourage this ruling ;)

    Chazza - they're speaking Afrikaans, and the season is NOT over mate. It may well be in the northern hemisphere, but it's anything but over down south. Currie Cup, Air New Zealand Cup... it's all just getting started. :)

    From what I've heard from Andre Watson, the main driving factor behind this ruling is to eliminate the 'human factor' from the game. Meaning that we often complain about ref's decisions, so this is one way to possibly make sure the ref makes the correct decision every time, which makes sense.

    It will slow the game down though I think.

    By Anonymous Sharky, at June 27, 2008 10:35 am  

  • This is bullsh*t. Don't want this in the game. Why is everyone changing the rules bringin in new ideas etc if the ref misses it he misses it. Suck it up and get over it. This and the other new rules is going to ruin rugby. you can keep it in the SH don't bring it up here. No i'm not narrow minded.

    By Anonymous Andy, at June 27, 2008 10:53 am  

  • I'm not a fan of this to be honest. I have no problem with the TMO's jurisdiction being extended to included all phases of play since the last set piece, prior to a try being scored to rule on that, but anything more will cause the game to become too stop-start and sterile.

    In this situation, the TJ clearly saw the stamping. He just didn't get a number. That does not stop the ref awarding a penalty, with a warning given to the captain (e.g. "We saw the stamp, but didn't get a number. Penalty against your team. The next player to be caught stamping will get a yellow") There is therefore no need to go upstairs, and the result would have been the same.

    Extending the powers around the scoring situation could work though. How often have we seen a forward pass (for example) early in a move which finishes with a TMO decision on whether or not the ball was grounded for a try. The TMO could review the footage of the run up to the try to check that too. That makes much more sense to me.

    By Anonymous Tanqueray, at June 27, 2008 11:23 am  

  • Tanqueray, that last comment on yours... that will/can happen.

    Let's not forget that uproar there was in cricket when the third umpire was introduced for the first time, and then in rugby when the TMO was introduced based on that technology.

    Let's see how it goes is all I'm saying.

    By Anonymous Sharky, at June 27, 2008 11:40 am  

  • One other thing. Around the 1:25 mark of this clip, the Sharks 17 clearly attempts to take down the whole maul, by grabbing a WP player's ankle and pulling. This happens before the stamping does. Now although the maul stayed up, it very nearly didn't, and as far as I can rememmber it is also an offence to attempt to bring a maul down (I may be wrong here though).

    So where does that leave us? Is the TMO only allowed to rule on the piece of foul play that is highlighted to him by the ref, just like he is currently only allowed to respond directly to the ref's question about a try i.e. "Is there a reson I cannot award the try?" or "Can you see if the ball was grounded?".

    If you ask me this is badly thought through, and is change for change's sake, rather than for the benefit of the game as a whole.

    Rant over :-)

    By Anonymous Tanqueray, at June 27, 2008 11:45 am  

  • The problem with this is that the TMO is not faultless. Look at the decisions for England v Scotland 2007 and Shane Williams against the same team 2008. What if he makes more serious errors? They will be highlighted hugely in today's media.

    I say keep it how it is and get rid of the new laws. Design by the Southern Hemisphere for the Southern Hemisphere...

    By Blogger thedannyclayton, at June 27, 2008 1:08 pm  

  • I don't see this going a good way for various reasons:

    1_Rugby is a dynamic, flowing sport. It's meant to be that, let's keep it that way.
    If this new ruling passes and starts to be used by the ref for any suspicion of foul play, we'll get more closer to american football.

    2_Refs will probably use it for fear of making mistakes.

    3_We are indeed humans. The "human factor" is not something to eradicate. Sometimes you just lose or win by luck or by poor refereeing. that's the way it goes. that's rugby.

    By Anonymous italianscrummy, at June 27, 2008 1:10 pm  

  • Just a way to slow the game down even more. The ELV's, which I am aposed to, are meant to speed the game up, so why slow if down with this. Is there a new IRB president trying to look like he is doing something to justify his election? I don't think it was a penalty anyway, if you can now bring down a maul, if you fail, you are going to get runover and Carstens is hard to miss. Please can the people who make the rules actualy play the game.

    By Anonymous martin, at June 27, 2008 2:04 pm  

  • Tanqueray, are you named after the Gin? lol

    By Anonymous martin, at June 27, 2008 2:06 pm  

  • 'I say keep it how it is and get rid of the new laws. Design by the Southern Hemisphere for the Southern Hemisphere...'

    How is this made for the Southern Hemisphere?? lol that doesn't make sense mate

    By Anonymous Benson, at June 27, 2008 2:39 pm  

  • Everyone in favour of this obviously hasn't seen any NRL(League).

    They have the same set up lately. And it's a complete farce.

    It slows the game down incredibly. Seems somewhat retarded for this to be put in place, when they constantly tell us they're trying to make our game faster and more free flowing.

    As this is the complete opposite.

    That's my 2 pence.

    By Anonymous Rancid, at June 27, 2008 2:49 pm  

  • Martin - Yes. Only the best will do.

    Rancid - I agree with you.

    Sharky - I do remember the cricket "furore" with the same thing, and I see your point. But they have not taken it further, and the umpires still retain much of the decision making, which is correct IMHO. My concern is that if this continues, that we will end up becoming like American Football as someone else here has also mentioned. Italianscrummy is also correct in his 2nd point, saying that refs will start overusing it for fear of being wrong themselves.

    Missed foul play can still be dealt with by the existing processes and channels, which I feel are quite sufficient.

    By Anonymous Tanqueray, at June 27, 2008 3:06 pm  

  • Yeah believe me I'm the first to admit that it could become a shambles.

    I myself was pretty shocked when I saw it being used for a forward pass in one of the other games on the weekend.

    Basically I'm all for technology and innovation in the game, therefore I'm keen to see this tried out further.

    With some of the younger/newer SA refs though, it is asking for trouble.

    It's quite crazy though cos we're always moaning at refs for the correct decision, now we'll more than likely get it, but we still won't be happy! lol

    I'll be watching the Currie Cup closely this weekend and we'll see if this is used/abused further. Hopefully not, as I'd like to see some positives come out of it.

    By Anonymous Sharky, at June 27, 2008 3:34 pm  

  • Why don't we just drop two players and speed the game up by eliminating rucks and making scrums uncontested?

    By Anonymous richard, at June 27, 2008 4:21 pm  

  • Firstly: lol @ "big man upstairs" quote from Rory Kockott.
    Secondly: the ref looks like he's wearing a springbok jersey, which I find a bit weird...

    Thirdly: the ELVs are supposed to reduce the impact of refs on a game, as according to Paddy O'Brien. In this game the TMO gave the game to the sharks when it would have otherwise been a draw. So this is VERY counterintuitive and contradictory to the ELVs and the policy behind them.
    I agree with the TMO's jurisdiction being extended a little bit, but not too much. Perhaps anything in the phase leading up to a try, but only if there is legitimate cause to look back at that phase.


    p.s. boomshanka, he is a good flanker, and the definition of a good flanker is getting away with things that the ref usually doesn't approve of.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 27, 2008 10:41 pm  

  • big brother's watching

    fuck that!

    By Anonymous tim, at June 28, 2008 2:24 pm  

  • I swear it shows that the sharks player was trying to pull down the maul in the first place - he deserved the kicking!

    By Anonymous conman79, at June 28, 2008 9:31 pm  

  • I'm glad I wasn't the only one that saw the ironic words "...stamping out..."

    As a player, this won't affect me in the slightest - I'm a VERY grassroots player.

    But as a fan, I don't like this. I'm not a fan of the TMO anyway - if they're so bothered, why not have in-goal touch judges, like in 7s?

    The referees should grow some balls and make decisions.

    By Anonymous Hugh Janus, at June 29, 2008 1:21 pm  

  • This kinda thing pisses me off with the new ALV's and shiz. In the good ole days, well like 2 years ago (i think) the sharks player would be seen as trying to pull down that maul and whatever came his way (within a bit of reason) was his own fault....i dont care which doctor said it wasn't or how well credited he is but pulling down a maul is dangerous and the imbecile which ruled it wasnt has to seriously sort himself out......maybe buisness is slow and he needs more clients...

    By Anonymous Livid!, at June 30, 2008 2:33 am  

  • As an American, I've long been used to referring to instant replay in most of the sports I watch. My first reaction to this post was: "of course the fans will get used to TMOs-- watching the replays are awesome!"

    But then I realized that's American football. F that for rugby! Italianscrummy has it right, the rugby I know is free-flowing. If I wanted to watch a sport that constantly stops and starts I can turn on the NFL.

    Sharky mentioned the driving force behind this move is to remove the "human factor" from the game. Ok, that's a noble intent to make the game more fair. Except that replays are STILL open to interpretation. Watch any NFL game with a split crowd and hear the arguments over the TV. Look at some of the debates on this site here over the same short video clip. There will always be a human factor, whether it's the Sir's or the TMO's or the fans'.

    Here's a question-- in what other sport that you know of is the referee always referred to as Sir? When I was learning rugby, I was taught that (although he may be human) the referee is ALWAYS infallible on the field (even when he doesn't see that foul). Respect that. Rugby's free-flowing, and it's on our honor as players (and fans) to let the ref rule without worrying about if every up-jumped fan on his couch is thinking HE could have made that call.

    The American in me does support using the TMO to look at the phases immediately before a try is scored. Once those points go on the board, they don't come back down so I'd like to know there weren't any obvious forward passes. But that's also because I love watching replays of amazing trys.

    By Anonymous K. Hav, at June 30, 2008 6:46 pm  

  • I'd have to agree with K. Hav.

    The TMO is fantastic when decidin tries (except that Wilkinson Try against Scotland in the 6 nations a few years ago....i mean what f*****g player was he watching!?!?*rant* *rant*) So its normally and invaluble tool.

    But to use the TMO in general play, im not so sure. Only because the referee's will have to be fair on using it, and the danger is that if they for instance used it on this case, then for instance if the sharks gave a W. Province player a shoeing then the W. Province would want him to go to the TMO, and all this will lead too is players appealing and referee's getting mobbed and dragged back and forth, as in football!

    This is what citing is for!!! yes it doesnt really help the particular game, but when will this stop, soon the TMO will be able to blow a whistle and stop play!

    By Anonymous Livid, at July 01, 2008 11:36 am  

  • i can see Rugby world cup 2011 every time the ref blows that he will refer to the TMO becasue he will be scared of the reprocutions of getting the decision wrong!!

    By Anonymous Rugby world cup 2011, at September 03, 2011 7:08 pm  

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