SANZAAR Boss Calls TMO use a “Major Concern”
With the Super Rugby group stages now wrapped up and the play-offs on the horizon, the competition’s organisers – SANZAAR – have taken the opportunity to air their misgivings about the current Television Match Official (TMO) system.
In a public statement, the group has acknowledged “challenges” experienced throughout the season due to interpretations of the laws by the current crop of officials. The last month of action, and in particular the last fortnight, has seen increased criticism of Super Rugby referees.
Things came to a head at the weekend when opposing coaches, Brad Thorn of the Queensland Reds and Tony Brown of the Sunwolves, both condemned a “soft” red card for Ed Quirk after a punch he threw made minimal impact.
Weighing in on the statement, SANZAAR chief Andy Marinos has had his say: “A major concern for us at present is the practical implementation of the Television Match Official (TMO) protocols. The protocols are clearly not working and a specific review is required in this area.”
He went on to say: “We need better consistency in the application of the protocols and most would agree that perhaps this is not the case. The aim of the review will be to drive some operational changes to the protocols to ensure this consistency so that better outcomes are delivered.
“SANZAAR is not empowered to adjust any protocols that have a direct effect on the Laws of the Game. However, we are keen to lead the discussion in this important area and following our review we will take our recommendations to World Rugby, the guardians of the Laws of Rugby, to ensure beneficial outcomes are achieved for the game.”
It will be interesting to see how World Rugby react to this approach from SANZAAR.
Earlier in the statement the group said: “Match officiating is a very important component of our game that undergoes continuous review to keep abreast of law changes and specific directives passed down from World Rugby.
“The performances of the guys in the middle and those on the sidelines, and behind the TV monitor, are regularly reviewed and appraised to ensure the best referees and officials are officiating in Super Rugby matches.
“Like a player, match officials who consistently do not perform to the level required are stood down from time to time, with specific game related work then done to get them back to performing consistently.”
With one final clarification on the sanctity of the match officials it was stated: “SANZAAR believes the appointed referee needs to remain the key decision maker on the field and that TMO interventions only provide context to the match officials’ decision making.”