The TMO de­bate: worth wait­ing to get it right, or re­sult of weak ref­er­ee­ing?

Ju­lian Bennetts stud­ies lengthy video re­views that frus­trated fans and view­ers dur­ing Eng­land’s opener

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport Rugby World Cup 2015 -

Twit­ter went into over­drive as the Tele­vi­sion Match Of­fi­cial spent over 10 min­utes de­lib­er­at­ing key de­ci­sion dur­ing Eng­land’s win over Fiji – and while each of his rul­ings were cor­rect did they need to be re­ferred up­stairs?

South African of­fi­cial Shaun Velds­man was called on six sep­a­rate times with the Twick­en­ham crowd spend­ing 10min 8sec watch­ing re­plays on the big screen.

The ref­eree, as­sis­tants or the TMO him­self can re­quest for de­ci­sions to be re­viewed and all did so as they as­sessed three po­ten­tial tries, two illegal clear outs and a dan­ger­ous tackle.

The most con­tro­ver­sial was when ref­eree Jaco Peyper, from South Africa, was in­flu­enced by the tele­vi­sion re­plays in­side the sta­dium as he asked to re­view Fi­jian scrum-half Nikola Matawalu’s spec­tac­u­lar in­di­vid­ual try a fully 57 sec­onds af­ter he had orig­i­nally awarded it.

Ben Volavola, the Fiji fly-half, was pre­par­ing to take the con­ver­sion at­tempt and if he had done so the try, which was even­tu­ally dis­al­lowed when the re­plays showed that Matawalu had dropped the ball be­fore ground­ing it, could not have been re­viewed.

That was the one oc­ca­sion on which Peyper made a swift de­ci­sion on the field, but he should ac­tu­ally have used the TMO im­me­di­ately.

And Peyper ap­peared to be hav­ing a cri­sis of con­fi­dence when he re­viewed Ne­mani Nadolo’s score af­ter leap­ing above An­thony Wat­son to field a crossfield kick two min­utes later. There ap­peared to be no need to check ei­ther the Fi­jian’s take of the high ball or the ground­ing.

The other in­ci­dents that were re­ferred seemed to be in­flu­enced by World Rugby’s fo­cus on player safety, with illegal clear outs and dan­ger­ous tack­les set to be closely mon­i­tored.

Eng­land flanker Tom Wood, could have been shown a yel­low card for the way he dragged Do­miniko Waqaniburotu out of a maul by his neck and threw him to the ground.

But hav­ing not sent Apisa­lome Ratu­ni­yarawa to the sin-bin for fail­ing to use his arms in an ear­lier clear out that was also re­ferred to the TMO, Peyper gave him Wood the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

Tip­ping point: This tackle on wing Jonny May was re­ferred de­spite be­ing in clear view of the as­sis­tant

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