TV ref­er­ees told to speed up de­ci­sions

The Daily Telegraph - Rugby World Cup - - Sport Rugby World Cup 2015 - By Gavin Mairs RUGBY NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

There was a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in the speed and in­ter­ven­tion of tele­vi­sion match of­fi­cials in the four Rugby World Cup games yesterday af­ter match of­fi­cials were re­minded of the need to make swift and decisive calls when re­view­ing footage fol­low­ing crit­i­cism of de­lays dur­ing Eng­land’s 31-10 vic­tory against Fiji at Twick­en­ham on Fri­day night.

The heavy use of the tele­vi­sion match of­fi­cial dur­ing the tour­na­ment’s open­ing match sparked crit­i­cism from Eng­land sup­port­ers on so­cial media as the long de­lays to re­view in­ci­dents en­sured that the 80-minute game took al­most two hours to com­plete.

The de­ci­sion to disal­low a try by the Fiji scrum-half Nikola Matawalu af­ter it had been given by the ref­eree Jaco Peyper also at­tracted crit­i­cism as the re­view only came as Fiji were tak­ing a con­ver­sion af­ter video replay showed he had dropped the ball.

Roger Lewis, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Welsh Rugby Union, re­sponded to the crit­i­cism by ad­mit­ting that while the de­ci­sions were ul­ti­mately “right” the speed of them had been frus­trat­ing. “We need to speed the process up,” Lewis told BBC Five Live.

The Sun­day Tele­graph un­der­stands that of­fi­cials were re­minded of that re­spon­si­bil­ity in the wake of the Eng­land game, with the length of the TMO re­views also thought to have been hin­dered by com­mu­ni­ca­tion is­sues and the dis­play of the ap­pro­pri­ate re­plays on the screens. World Rugby last night in­sisted they had full con­fi­dence in the TMO sys­tem and pro­to­cols, which were ex­panded in a trial in 2013 to also re­view pos­si­ble foul play as well and two phases be­fore the ball is grounded for a try.

The new Hawk-Eye tech­nol­ogy was also used for the first time in the crit­i­cal de­ci­sion to award the try by Billy Vu­nipola that se­cured a four-try bonus-point for Eng­land, with the zoom fea­ture con­firm­ing it was a try.

“The match of­fi­cial team is com­mit­ted to clear, con­sis­tent and above all ac­cu­rate de­ci­sion-mak­ing and the pro­to­col was used cor­rectly,” a World Rugby spokesman said.

The tight­en­ing up of the speed of the tele­vi­sion match of­fi­cial de­ci­sion­mak­ing fol­lows a suc­cess­ful di­rec­tive in Premier­ship Rugby last sea­son in part­ner­ship with the Rugby Football Union which saw a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the time taken to make de­ci­sions and the num­ber of re­views.

“You have to get it right but do it as quickly as you can,” Phil Win­stan­ley, the rugby di­rec­tor at Premier­ship Rugby, said. “The av­er­age time taken for each re­fer­ral has gone down from 1.31 min­utes in 2012-13 in our first sea­son to 1.04 min­utes last sea­son.”

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