TMO decision on foul play rulings imminent

Last updated 05:00 02/12/2012

Relevant offers


Scoreline deceiving as All Blacks make history against Wallabies at Eden Park Record-breaking All Blacks say they do respect Michael Cheika and the Wallabies Morne Steyn dropped from Boks' Euro Tour squad Marc Hinton: Julian Savea stars as All Blacks show they can win gritty as well as pretty All Blacks player ratings: How the team that set a new world record fared Phil Gifford: These are the best All Blacks of the past 50 years Black Ferns smash Wallaroos in record-equalling victory at Eden Park Oldest All Black Wally Argus dies aged 95 Unlucky punter made to pay as $94,000 bet goes horribly wrong with Wellington defeat North Harbour clinical enough to see off Wellington in NPC semi

Next year's Super Rugby competition and the June internationals between the All Blacks and France could allow television match officials to highlight acts of thuggery.

Currently, a TMO can't inform the match referee if a malicious offence has been committed. The fourth official can only be called upon to rule on the act of scoring.

But that could be about to change.

Fairfax Media understands the International Rugby Board will meet on December 20 to decide if significant changes will operate in 2013, including the ability for the TMO to advise referees of foul play.

Wide-spread calls for a review of the system have emerged this week after the uproar in Cardiff, when South African referee Craig Joubert and his assistants missed All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore knocking out Welsh lock Bradley Davies with a swinging arm from behind, in the first two minutes of the test.

Replacement Welsh flanker Justin Tipuric also got away with his second-half stomping on All Blacks prop Wyatt Crockett's leg.

Both players were allowed to stay on the field, despite damning video replays being repeatedly played to the 80,000 fans at Millennium Stadium and the millions more watching around the globe.

The lack of action was a bad look for rugby's world-wide image.

Hore received a five-week ban for his act but several players and administrators want to prevent similar ugly incidents going unpunished during a match.

IRB referee manager Joel Jutge refused to take calls but confirmed via email a decision on expanding TMO powers was imminent, and an IRB spokesperson revealed the meeting would take place in just over two weeks.

"We have a meeting soon about the TMO, we need to discuss a lot because it's not easy," Jutge said. "I am not in a position now to make any comments. Maybe later."

Former Welsh captain Kingsley Jones has demanded change.

"How long will it be till the fourth official can actually come in and say, 'Right, cheap shot, red card?'" Jones told the BBC. "How long will that be? Because we have to clean the game up in the end, at the moment we're trialling that."

Steps are already underway to ensure red-faced referees are not hung out to dry and left powerless to police footage they may have missed.

Successful trials in South Africa's Currie Cup competition this year and in the on-going English Premiership have broadened TMO jurisdiction to include incidents leading up to a try, and pointing out where a player has broken the law.

Sunday News understands feedback from the trial has been widely positive, with teams appreciating the clarity and swift decision-making.

Ad Feedback

With these findings, it is understood the IRB will consider introducing changes to the TMO powers for next year's three-test June series, which features France in New Zealand, and embedding it in Super Rugby from 2013.

However, some teething issues remain on the debate table.

Those include the need for clear guidelines about how far back a TMO can review while the IRB is mindful of taking too much authority away from the whistlers.

Other concerns are around making sure the game's continuity is not disrupted by too many stoppages, like those seen in many American sports. 

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content