Rugby Union


Nigel Owens wants TMO balance in Rugby

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Since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, there has been an increasing level of involvement from the Television Match officials, in deciding key moments in games.

However the pressing issue at hand is, whether or not the system is being overused in examining every controversial (or non-controversial as some may see it) incident?

Rugby’s use of video technology has been praised hugely and heralded as the example that football and other sports should follow.


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At the Rugby World Cup last year, referee, Jaco Peyper, was heavily criticised for his reliance on technology. The most clear-cut example was the bizarre incident involving a perfectly legal ruck clear out being adjudicated as illegal. The footage reconfirming what many rugby fans assumed.

In a time whereby World rugby had been criticised for slowing the game down through poor officiation at scrums and rucks, it seems the TMO decisions are equally affecting the speed of the game. Is this detrimental, or necessary?

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Renowned rugby referee, Nigel Owens, believes the technology is invaluable, but admitted it is occasionally being overused.

He told Sky Sports: "We need to get that balance right. We need to be better as referees at using it, but we also need to make sure that when we do put the protocol in place with the technology to be used, that we do get that better as well.

"Because you don't want it overused, but you also have to appreciate that if you want the big decisions right now, you need the technology to be there."

New Zealand v France - Quarter Final: Rugby World Cup 2015

The World Cup final referee recently overruled a TMO decision during a European Rugby Champions Cup game between Leinster and Toulon. Ben Te’o, was accused of a late hit on Toulon centre Matt Giteau. Owens’ was shown a replay of the footage in slow motion, which he believed exacerbated the whole incident.

Nevertheless, he remains a big fan of the technology, as it is a vital component in making the right call on the big decisions.

Moving forward, the sport must try to find a balance between getting the key decisions correct and risk affecting the overall spectacle of the game with constant interruptions in play.

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