Sanzaar have altered officiating protocols so that Super Rugby referees will no longer be able to defer tough calls to the TMO.
This season, should the referee wish to call on the television match official to initiate a replay review, the referee must first state his “on-field decision” based on his real-time view. The TMO will then review the given incident accordingly, based on the referee’s assessment.
The replay evidence must be compelling enough to convince the TMO to overturn the referee’s call.
The only exception to this process is in the case of a potential foul play incident. The referee can choose to review the incident on the big screen (or request the TMO to review it if the replay screen is of poor quality) with no “on-field decision” prior to the review.
Former Test referee Jonathan Kaplan described the change as “a big move”.
The amendment reflects the emerging technology that is now available in terms of the number of camera angles and the use of split-screen television software. Plus SANZAAR’s desire to tighten the process and make it more accurate, more efficient and to reduce the time taken for the decision-making process.
“The general consensus is that with the new technology and the protocol of a definitive ‘on-field call’, time is saved and the awkward conversation between referee and TMO that occurs from time to time is eliminated,” said Sanzar chief Andy Marinos.