Cape Town - South African referees boss André Watson says the rights of the Television Match Official (TMO) could expand after the Bulls were awarded an illegitimate try in their clash against the Cheetahs over the weekend.
Watson says a rigid protocol helped the Bulls score an illegitimate try in their clash at the Free State Stadium.
Bulls prop Dean Greyling was awarded with the try in the 10th minute of the game, which the Bulls went on to win 51-19.
The referee, Craig Joubert
, referred the call to the TMO Johann Meuwesen. Meuwesen awarded the try because he was only allowed to make a call on what the referee had asked him.
Greyling illegally performed a double movement before placing the ball over the goal-line but Joubert didn't spot the double movement. He saw the placement, and asked Meuwesen: "Is there any reason not to award the try?"
Meuwesen wanted to lure Joubert into an alternative question (try or no try?) so he could realise it wasn't supposed to be a try. However, according to the International Rugby Board's protocol for referees the TMO is only allowed to respond to the referee's original question. This rule prohibited Meuwesen, who knew it wasn't a legal try, from instructing Joubert to award the Cheetahs a penalty.
Watson told Die Burger
it was an unfortunate incident where the protocol prevented the right call to be made.
"According to protocol from the IRB a referee is not allowed to respond to any additional information from the TMO which doesn't relate to his original question. Johann wanted to give Craig extra information, because it clearly wasn't a try. But both of them would have ended up in hot water.
"The problem started with Craig not spotting Greyling's transgression. In this case the protocol led to the wrong decision being made and Craig has taken full responsibility," said Watson.
However, luckily the IRB is planning to test the protocol where the TMO's rights are expanded.
"It will allow the TMO to point out foul play and to give additional information to prevent a situation like what happened at the weekend. If there is, for example, a forward pass which leads to a try 30 meters on, he'll be able to point it out.
"I really hope the Currie Cup is one of the competitions in which the protocol will be tested. A decision will be made next month," said Watson.