TMOs may guard S15 foul play
Cape Town - Television match officials could play a part in pointing out foul play during next year's Super Rugby tournament.
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The International Rugby Board (IRB) recently announced that two tournaments - one in each hemisphere - would be used on a trial basis to enable Television Match Officials (TMOs) to point out foul play to referees during games, which would see referees hand out yellow or red cards on the TMO's advice.
The Northern Hemisphere's Heineken Cup will be the first tournament to use the rule and according to the Volksblad newspaper, the Super Rugby tournament could follow suit next season.
"There must still be decided what tournament in the Southern Hemisphere the new technology will be used in, but hopefully it's in the Super Rugby tournament," South African referees manager André Watson said.
"It is good to use technology where it could be of assistance and I support it 100%. However, I fear that most people won't realise that it won't be infallible.
The IRB is yet to decide how the rule would be implemented. The first option is for the referee to decide when he would want to refer possible foul play to the TMO, while the second option would be for each of the two captains to receive one referral per match.
Watson feels a combination of the two options could work. "One must remember that the captain can't always see everything that happens on the field and won't always be able to make a call to refer the incident," said Watson.
However, Watson warned that the system won't be 100% foolproof. "If a referee and a TV-ref both miss the incident, it will go by unpunished.
"The use of it will also largely depend on the broadcaster involved and its 'replay' image," said Watson.