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allblacks.com     07 May 2013     Getty Images

font face="trebuchet ms,geneva" size="2">As anticipated the new Television Match Official protocols have seen an increase in the number of referrals to the TMO.  After 61 games up to Round 10, the official match official statistics show a total 122 calls have been referred to the TMO.

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Referees Manager Rod Hill said referees had definitely noticed the increase in workload for TMOs.


“In previous seasons, the TMO was only required when the referee asked them to review a try.  Under the new protocols – and there are eight scenarios for a TMO to be called in - the TMO is obliged to watch everything entirely on the TV monitor.  A popular extension has been allowing play to be reviewed from the last restart when a try may have been scored (but they can’t go further back than two ruck or maul phases).


“All in all, feedback has been positive, and generally people see we are looking for accuracy to ensure a fair outcome,” Hill said.

With an average two TMO referrals per game so far this season, five was the highest number of referrals, and six matches played without any referrals.

Try/no try referrals made up 90 (75 percent) of the calls to the TMO – 48 of those tries were awarded, 42 disallowed and with 28 games in the same period decided by seven points or fewer, it’s clear why accuracy is important.


Blues Coach Sir John has spoken positively of the extended protocols, acknowledging in media interviews that “the reality is we have to get things right if we can - decisions could mean people get to hang on to their jobs. There is too much riding on these decisions for us to say we won't go back and have a look.”


Some have argued that the referrals disrupt the game and extend its duration. The average time of the two referrals per game is 82 seconds each and that time may come down as everyone gets used to it.

As Crusaders Coach Todd Blackadder says: “The introduction of the TMO is a positive step to ensuring a fair outcome for our Super Rugby games. At the moment we are still adapting to the use of technology and at times it can slow the game down. Once we get through this and it is embedded I believe it will be a great addition to the game.”

Investec Super Rugby TMO numbers

Investec Super Rugby games to Round 1061
Number of TMO referrals so far122
Average number of TMO referrals per game2
Most referrals in a game5 (on four occasions)
Least referrals in a game0 (on six occasions)
Average TMO time1 min 22 secs
Maximum extra time in a game7 mins 37 secs
Try/No Try referrals to the TMO90
TMO decision to award a try48
TMO decision to not award a try42
Foul play referrals32
Yellow cards from TMO referrals13