Referee 'Bunker', Hawk-Eye and Ref Cam all to be used too

It was trialled behind closed doors during the Six Nations and now the ‘shot clock’ is ready to be rolled out during the upcoming Rugby World Cup warm-ups – as well as the referee ‘Bunker’, Hawk-Eye and ref cam technologies.

Already in use in France’s Top 14 league, the shot clock in the Summer Nations Series will have a timer on the big screen and on live broadcasts that shows kickers how much of 90 seconds they have left to take a conversion, and of 60 seconds to take a penalty kick. The hope is that with a visible clock ticking down, less time is wasted. During the Six Nations, officials looked at using such a timer for completing scrums too.

What is the ref bunker?

According to Six Nations, during these matches: “Referees will remain the lead decision maker during games, but through the trial they will now have the option to refer any foul play incident, to a dedicated `Foul Play Review Officer’ (FPRO) situated within the Bunker, where a red card is not clear and obvious.

“If after two video replays the in-play officiating team is unable to determine whether an incident warrants a red card then the referee will refer the incident to the Bunker, and the player will leave the field of play for 10 minutes. The FPRO will then have up to 8 minutes to review the incident using all available technology and footage, to determine the outcome.

“The FPRO will then communicate the decision to the in-play officiating team and the referee will either award the player a yellow card (and the player returns to the action following their 10-minute sin bin), or the referee will award a red card and the player stays off the field permanently, unable to be replaced.”

Other technologies in use for World Cup warm-up games

  • Hawk-Eye

This replay tech – best-known for it’s use in elite tennis – will act as the independent video replay operator, providing match officials with replays.

  • Ref cam

A re-introduction this – a camera on the referee is intended to provide broadcasters with new angles for fans to watch during live matches.

  • Smart-ball technology

A technology that has come about through the collaboration between tech company Sportable and Gilbert, this trialled tech can measure spin rates, distances covered by the ball, speed of travel, as well as ruling on potential forward passes etc.

What has been said about the Shot Clock and other technologies?

Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said of the technologies for upcoming matches: “Bringing the latest technology, processes and rugby focussed innovations into Six Nations Rugby competitions is a core part of helping drive the collective growth of the game. The likes of the Bunker Trial and Hawk-Eye will offer even more support to match officials and the decisions they make in the heat of a live match environment.

For fans, we want to bring them as close to the action as possible, and innovations like Shot Clock and Ref Cam can do this. Everyone in the game wants to keep developing and pushing new initiatives, and the Summer Nations Series offers a great opportunity to deliver in this area.”

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