World Rugby approves revised TMO trial for November international Tests

WORLD RUGBY HAS approved a closed trial which looks at revising the scope of the TMO (Television Match Official) in the November Tests hosted by Tier one unions.

The organisation said that the decision underscored their ongoing commitment to consistent and accurate match officiating, with the key objectives being to further reduce TMO reliance and time impact while ensuring “clear, consistent and accurate on-field decision-making.”

The following principles have been agreed:

Try scoring should be an on-field decision with the referee being responsible, but the team of four can all contribute.The current list of potential infringements for which a TMO can be referred will be retained, but any referral needs to be prompt, clear and consistent. The ‘on the run’ chat between the match officials and TMO for foul play will be removed with the onus on the referee, who should only refer to the TMO issues that are clear and obvious serious acts of foul play, including penalty kick, yellow card or red card as a potential sanction in order to protect player welfare.Match officials can review foul play up to when the game restarts, when a penalty is kicked to touch and when foul play footage becomes available.Proposal to include live broadcast of the TMO in action.

Saracens’s Alistair Hargreaves tries to convince referee Greg Garner to check with the TMO. Source: Paul Harding

Chairman Bill Beaumont reflected that the body was maintaining its policy of regularly reviewing game protocols.

“World Rugby is committed to regularly reviewing our match officiating protocols to ensure that they are in the best-possible shape to support accurate and consistent match official decision-making and uphold our player welfare focus without adversely impacting on the match,” he said.

“This Television Match Official review reflects that commitment and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the process and look forward to seeing the trial in practice this November.”

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World Rugby has also issued a law application guideline reinforcing current law for match officials in relation to high tackles and neck contact.

An amendment to Law 9 (9.26) has been introduced with immediate effect, relating to lowering players to ground safely in open play.

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