Reducing TMO entry and scrum time limits part of the World Rugby drive to speed up gameplay

Officials await TMO's decision - Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Officials await TMO’s decision – Andrew Boyers/Reuters

While World Rugby tries to step up the game, the television match official response time for the men’s Six Nations will be shortened.

Referees will also be encouraged to allow fewer big-screen repetitions while refereeing more strictly to a 30-second limit for scrum formation, as part of a series of directives that will come into effect from January 1, including:

  • Countdown clocks for kickers on television screens and in stadiums

  • Water breaks after trials instead of designated windows

  • Review on “adverse player actions” like backpacking team players and walking away with the ball after conceding penalties

  • Focus on players supporting their body weight by placing their hands on the ground

  • Authorizing referees to award free kicks for obvious loss of time, especially in formations

  • Clarity on deliberate knockouts

As part of a series of law directives designed to improve the spectator experience ahead of the 2023 World Cup, kickers will need to turn within 90 seconds of a down being awarded and will have 60 seconds to take penalties after stating their intent. go for the goal Research has shown that both of these scenarios usually take longer in Test matches. A study of the 2022 Rugby Championships found that these Test matches averaged 46 minutes of “dead ball time”.

World Rugby’s director of rugby, Phil Davies, explained that his organization will work to ensure these are visible both on television screens and to the spectators attending in the stadium.

“World Rugby affiliates and competitions will work with broadcasters and match presenters to implement on-screen shot clocks for penalties and conversions so that referees, players and fans can see the countdown,” he said.

Shot clocks have been a feature of elite club rugby in France in recent years and will be introduced in the Premiership as soon as possible after 1 January. Telegraph Sport understands that Premiership Rugby hopes to bring them to stadiums and BT Sport and their home stadiums. streaming service, Premiership Rugby TV, in a few weeks.

punishing time wasters

As Mathieu Raynal did in New Zealand’s controversial Australian win three months ago, the referees will be encouraged to abide by the 9.7d rule and will award free kicks against sides considered time wasters.

Line output will also come under further scrutiny. Law 18.12 states that they must be created “without delay”. Teams will also need to have created a scrum within 30 seconds of marking.

World Rugby will encourage less reliance on television match officials (TMOs) by limiting TMO replays, another goal for the road to the World Cup. Referees will be asked to address issues that are “clear and clear” without relying on their TMO.

“There was excellent discussion on this topic at the Shape of the Game conference, including leading match officials, coaches and player representatives,” Davies added.

“Recognized that reviews can often take too long, which indicates that the offense under investigation is unclear. While we can always improve technology interaction to speed up the process, referee-led match official teams should try to make faster decisions and limit repetitions when not needed.”

Stricter water break rules

Windows set for water breaks will be removed after attempts are made, allowing players to take water from designated support personnel.

There will also be a focus on “adverse player actions” such as attackers trapping interceptors and walking away with the ball after their side has conceded a penalty. In rucks and slaps, referees will be asked to pay attention to players who are supporting their body weight by placing their hands on the ground.

World Rugby has also tried to clear the law of intentional chains. These latest directives reiterated law 11.4, which states that there should be no penalty when attempting to intercept a pass “if there is a reasonable expectation that the player will have possession of the ball”.

The ‘Shape of the Game’ conference was held in London in November and was attended by players, coaches, referees and representatives from Argentina, Australia, England, Fiji, France, Georgia as well as the World Rugby, Six Nations and Rugby Championships. Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, USA and Wales.

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