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International Rugby Board referees boss Paddy O’Brien says the authority of television match officials is likely to be extended on a trial basis next year and could be permanently increased.

O’Brien said protocols were currently being drafted which would “extend the use” of TMOs in trial matches in both the northern and southern hemispheres in 2012.

Television match officials currently can only rule on incidents in the in-goal area. The new protocols would likely extend their authority to the field of play, allowing them to advise the referee of foul play or forward passes in the lead-up to a try.

O’Brien told a business luncheon in Queenstown on Monday that “protocols around this have yet to be established, but it is likely to be trialed in the new year.”

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