The Ref Zone: Too Much TMO?

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Northampton Saints v Munster - Heineken Cup
Too Much TMO?

LONDON, ENGLAND– While watching rugby this season I’ve noticed one thing;  the use of the TMO is becoming more and more common within the game.  And with the extension of power of the TMO to not just include in-goal, it seems that reviews are getting too frequent and including things that should be left unchecked.  Is it creeping into the game and causing a hang-up for rugby? Is there Too Much TMO? Let’s take a look.

The question is whether or not referees should be perfect – or even robotic. There are two schools of thought on this: 1) That perfection from a referee would allow for the best game and 2) The human element is a part of the game.  I can think of very few sports were the referee is not a part of the game.

Does the intersection of these two schools make for the TMO  overuse?  The short answer is… Yes.  It is getting used more and more.  Lately, Foul Play Infractions and questions leading up to a score are now under the replay microscope.  Personally, I’m all for the use of the TMO for foul play – especially when it is extremely serious.  Take a look at it’s use in the varsity match here:

This is an excellent example of why the TMO should not just be used in an in-goal instance.  Here, it’s about making sure the right outcome is achieved. However, should this extend to things such as knock-ons and forward passes?

Martin Fox
Martin Fox pledges to be better.

My colleague Nick Hall, reported that  Martin Fox –  in the Bath versus Harlequins match – bucked the recent trend of going to the TMO for any potentially controversial call… and got it wrong. The ruling that Tom Guest’s effort was held up when replays clearly showed the ball being grounded as the glaring mistake. See for yourself by clicking here.

It serves as an example where the referee should have gone to the TMO. When it comes to try or no try, the call has to be correct as much as possible. However, TMO reviews of all tries is not mandatory in most leagues, like the NFL – as our colleague DJ Eberle pointed out.

Personally, it comes down to the standard of perfection to which we hold our referees. I don’t like the slowing of the game, but at the professional level, getting it right is more important than a slight slow down. Rugby has always embraced the human element of the game and the power of the referee.  The hope here is that in this new era of big-money matches and high-pressure decisions, the fact that you have a living breathing human being with an ability to interpret the situation, penalty and all other extenuating factors, doesn’t get lost.

So… You know my thoughts on this – what do you think? Too Much TMO?

Feel free to give your opinion below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUpJunoir BlaberDJ EberleNick HallJames HarringtonCody KuxmannJaime Loyd and Declan Yeats, respectively.

About Cody Kuxmann 60 Articles
Cody Kuxmann is a Referee at London Society Of Rugby Football Union deciple... When not sending innocents to the Sin Bin, The American International University in London grad splits time between England and... Green Bay, WI! And like all referees, is Blind, Deaf and Dumb.