OPINION: Has TMO taken over referee's job?
@rugby365com law guru Paul Dobson gives us his view on SANZAAR’s general report of officiating in Super Rugby.
It is certainly good that the role of the TMO is causing concern as the impression often is that decisions are made by the TMO and TMO time is too long. SANZAAR has affirmed that the real decision-maker is the referee. The more the referee sees and believes what he sees and then acts on it, the better.
Soccer used the TMO for the first time at the World Cup, but the decision was entirely the referee’s. He made his square in the air and then jogged off to look at the monitor and then make his decision. He, a man you could see, made the decision, not a disembodied voice.
The business of keeping “abreast of law changes and specific directives passed down from World rugby” is something of a summary of rugby’s confusion in dealing with the application of the Laws of the Game and the understanding of them by referees, assessors, commentators, coaches and the rugby public at large.
There are too many bits and pieces of changes, global and local, having differing timetables and in some cases not even written in law.
What, it seems, is not being addressed are the appointments themselves. It remains strange that a referee dropped by Super Rugby referees the PRO 14 final and another referee, who had only three remote matches, is appointed to referee World Rugby’s Under-20 final and then gets more of a show-in in Super Rugby. The fact is that the appointments are dominated by New Zealand referees.
Of the 120 matches so far, New Zealand referees have refereed 57, South Africans 31, Australians 24, Argentinians 5 and Japanese 3.
By Paul Dobson