Referee Romain Poite calls for the TMO in a Test between Australia and England. Picture: Matt King/Getty
Referee Romain Poite calls for the TMO in a Test between Australia and England. Picture: Matt King/Getty

Cool your jets, chaps: World Rugby reins in TMO powers

WORLD Rugby has reined in the power of television match officials for the end of year internationals in Europe and handed back more control to on field referees.

The influence of the TMO came under heavy scrutiny during the June Tests in the southern hemisphere and the latter stages of the Super Rugby competition.

Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn and Sunwolves counterpart Tony Brown, in particular, questioned cards given to their players in Super Rugby fixtures after the TMO convinced on-field referees to change their initial assessment of the incident.

Former players working as television analysts also criticised the amount of time taken to make decisions and  queried the application of the strict letter of the law in certain events.

The Wallabies, All Blacks and Springboks are among southern hemisphere teams heading to Europe later this month for their end of season tours who will come under a new TMO edict.

World Rugby council member John Jeffrey, a former Scotland international, said the decision-making focus would shift back to on-field referees during those internationals.

George Gregan, John Jeffrey and John Spencer pose with their Hall of Fame caps in 2013. Picture: Getty
George Gregan, John Jeffrey and John Spencer pose with their Hall of Fame caps in 2013. Picture: Getty

The influence of television officials would also be restricted to checking tries and for foul play.

"On the run" conversations between the TMO and three on field officials would also be removed.

"While we hope that the revised protocol will have a positive impact in terms of time impact on the game and accuracy, as with any trial, we will undertake a full review after the November window before determining whether to proceed," Jeffrey said in a statement.

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