The day a ballboy famously ruled out an All Black try.

Remember When A Ballboy Ruled Out An All Black Try?

How did we get by in rugby when we didn’t have the Television Match Official? The TMO, whilst occasionally causing controversy, has become an integral part of elite rugby union. But can you remember when it didn’t exist?

Well there were no TMOs back in 1989. That year, during a match between Ireland and the All Blacks, a ballboy ruled out a try by running onto the pitch to alert the referee of an infringement spotted by the referee’s assistant.

Kiwi fly-half Grant Fox scored what would have been his first try after a lovely run around the Irish defence. However whilst play was going on the touch judge had his flag up following a Sean Fitzpatrick infringement during a quick line-out.

The referee did not notice this, play carried on,  the try was awarded and everyone started heading back to halfway. Enter the tracksuit-wearing ballboy who ran across the pitch to alert the ref.

After the game the boy said: “I saw the touch judge’s flag up and then I saw that New Zealand were scoring a try.

“And when they scored the try, I said to the touch judge ‘this shouldn’t happen, why don’t you go on and tell him?’ And the touch judge said ‘no I can’t do that’.

“Then one of the people in the ground told me to go on yourself.”

It took a while, but eventually the correct decision was made.

Of course there has been controversy recently in terms of TMO’s with England having a try disallowed against the All Blacks which ultimately cost the Roses victory.

Sam Underhill thought he had scored a sublime try as he ran rings around Beauden Barrett to score in the corner, however the score was disallowed after Courtney Lawes was judged to have been offside when he charged down a kick by scrum-half TJ Perenara.

Such incidents have divided opinion… however it is probably a good thing for the game that we no longer have to rely on ballboys to get the correct decisions!

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