SANZAR CEO Greg Peters has intimated that it’s unlikely that Super Rugby will adopt television match official (TMO) rule changes next year.
Empowering the TMO to review possible infringements during try-scoring movements and incidents of foul play have been trialled in the Currie Cup and English Premiership competitions this year.
Whilst the abbreviated scrum engagement sequence and five-second rule at rucks and mauls will be introduced next year, Peters hinted that any possible rule amendments around the TMO would have to wait until 2014.
This is partly due to the fact that the Super Rugby season will kick-off on February 15, well before the International Rugby Board (IRB) council would have had time to assess and recommend any findings on the TMO changes, with the council only set to meet again in May.
Peters also fears that implementing the changes could hamper the fluency of the game and feels there is too much subjectivity around the alterations at this stage.
“I think the jury is still out on this,” Peters told Fairfax Media.
“It will be a big ask [to change the rules around the TMO], given the IRB hasn’t met to discuss them by the time our competition has started.”
“There is also a lot of subjectivity around it – things like who initiates the review, the referee or the TMO? How far do you go back in the movement?
“Was there foul play downfield, was there a forward pass back on the 22m and if it was a line-ball you have to take the camera angle into account too.”
New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises also voiced their concerns during a meeting with the New Zealand Rugby Union’s high performance referee manager that assistant referees would possibly opt-out of making quick decisions, which would result in more and longer stoppages in play.
“SANZAR will want to be very, very clear on the extent of the protocols if anything is to be changed at all,” Peters added.
“We don’t want fans to get confused. It can seem simple but it’s not. There is so much subjectivity.”
Peters said that while SANZAR have not completely dismissed the TMO changes, they remain cautious.
“This is something I would prefer to see introduced across the whole game, not just in selected competitions… if the recommendations are very clear in stating how they should be used it is possible we will implement them,” he said.