Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rugby to Welcome Expanded Instant Replay

Rugby is the latest sport to expand instant replay review, a change that will occur later this year, the International Rugby Board announced this week as part of their approved rules changes.

Under current Rugby rules, television match officials (TMOs) are only authorized to review scoring-related plays—whether a try is a successful or during events in-goal. Under the adopted amendment, TMOs will be able to advise the on-field referee on matters of foul play that occur at any time and on all incidents that occur inside the field of play in the lead-up to a try.

At present, the on-field referee can only rely on assistant referees to adjudicate dirty play or illegal fouls, an issue that has jeopardized player safety with the potential lack of enforcement if a referee was unable to see the misconduct, as occurred earlier this month when Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi unleashed an illegal punch against Northampton wing Chris Ashton. Tuilagi and Ashton were yellow-carded by referee Wayne Barnes after consultation with assistant referee Robin Goodliffe, though replays indicate Tuilagi should have received a red card. Under the new instant replay rules, Tuilagi would have received that red card. Tuilagi has been subsequently cited by the RFU and will appear at a disciplinary hearing in London on his 20th birthday.

Similar to MLB's implementation of limited instant replay in 2008, Rugby will implement the TMO rules changes on a trial basis in August (northern hemisphere) and January (southern hemisphere), corresponding with the various seasons in both regions. The TMO rules changes may also be operable in Test matches by November.

The IRB also announced changes to conversion kicks—they will now need to be completed with 90 seconds of a try being awarded—and a five-second count at the back of a ruck after the referee has given the instruction to play, similar to basketball's five-second count for inbounding and closely guarded, under NFHS and NCAA rules.

News: More power for rugby's video referees


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, all sports should allow instant replay for unsportsmanlike fouls, sucker punches and other cheap shots, things that have no place in any level of any sport. Good for rugby officials in figuring that out and giving their officiating crews the tools necessary to police the sport.

Anonymous said...

Good. If the league office is going to review these plays and dole out punishment after review of the replay, it's just common sense to let referees and umpires use the technology on the field to begin with.

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