May 14, 2012

Video Killed the Rugby Star

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I don't get quite as much chance to watch rugby as I would like, but I always make an extra effort to get in on the Heineken Cup weekends, and when you see a first half (I was heading out before the second) like the one from Leinster at the weekend, then it is plain to see why I would want to watch this.

video ref

However, viewing rugby also gives me a bit of frustration when it comes to the use of the Video Ref/4th Official/TMO.  I'll go with TMO from here on in, ironically (you'll see later), as it is the shortest and quickest to type.

The particular moment that has sparked me to write this was during the match between Racing Metro and Harlequins. The game was only about 4 minutes old when Leighton Hodges, the same official that due to his diligence meant he was in charge of a half of rugby lasting 58 minutes between Italy and Samoa, decided to stop the game to ask the TMO to check an incident of foul play.


Fair enough you might think.

However, it then felt like an inordinate amount of time until the game started up again. I actually think (or it certainly felt) that this stoppage lasted longer than the game was old at this point - ridiculous!

I should also say that I think the instruction the TMO was given, was to look at a potential act of foul play at a ruck, before he had stopped the game for a separate incident, which he might have seen out of the corner of his eye.


The TMO was effectively tasked with searching for something you might describe as 'vague'.  The only thing, slightly, entertaining about this was the look on the TMO's face as he tried to discern what he was meant to be looking for. He eventually returned to the referee saying he couldn't find anything, certainly not as big a shock as Harlequins dismantling Racing in the way they did.

Surely this is not what this review facility should be used for?  Imagine a game of rugby that was stopped every time something slightly untoward might have happened at a ruck. How long would that last?

So, I guess the question is: Will Video kill the rugby star?

People's patience in life appears to generally be on the wane, so how long will it be before spectators or viewers start to have enough of these stop-start games?

Also, how do you think the TMO can best be used? Limit the time to make a decision or use an NFL style coaches appeal system?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and if you have the time, I have included the link to the song that I adapted slightly for the title. Enjoy.