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That Video Ref thing...
That Video Ref thing...
(sort it out NZRFU!)
League has had them for a few years now with mixed results... Cricket has had them for even longer. Which when you think about it, doesn't say much for the IRB. There wouldn't be many sporting codes as old fashioned and steeped in tradition, as you'll find amongst the gin soaked cricket boys at the MCC. Yet they have introduced a 3rd TV watching umpire well before rugby even considered the possibility. So what the bloody hell is so different about rugby?

Well, we've all heard the excuses: too expensive... removes the human element... slows the game down... it's fine the way it is...

And those were during the cricket debate!

The arguments have all been heard before, and now it's time for rugby officialdom to get their collective shit together.

Of course it's going to cost a few bob... but not as much as the cricket associations have had to shell out. They've invested in multiple super slow motion cameras at God knows how many angles, microphones near the stumps and of course the pretty coloured lights in the stand. Isn't a bulk standard TV camera or two at each end of the park all that's required on the rugby ground? Just enough to see for certain whether the pill was really dotted down. They have one on each try line already, as a matter of course. If the rumours that the NZ Rugby Board are reluctant because of the price, they should get their arses kicked. NZ Rugby was one of the most successful commercial ventures in the country last year and they can afford it.

As far as I'm concerned - if a team gets the ball over the try line and gets some downward pressure on the thing, give them five points. There should be no doubt as to whether the try was scored. Five points is too valuable to award or deny in error. A video ref will go a hell of a long way towards removing doubt. It obviously won't be perfect - and we don't expect that. What we do expect is sensible use of technology to help ensure the score line of a game reflects the tries scored.

For those who like the human element in the game - it'll still be there. There will still be knock-ons, forward passes, shepherding, off the ball play and all those things that happen in the scrum that only forward understand. And the ref will miss half of it. A camera can never take these away from the game because these "black arts" as they are sometimes called, are in a sense what makes rugby the game it is.

And as for slowing the game down... Bollocks. Not a problem. It gives the players a chance for a breather. The crowd get a chance to scratch their backsides and at home you can quickly grab another cold one.

Lets award a try when a try is scored. Never mind how illegally the ball got to the try line - that is and always should be the on field referee's domain and responsibility. But ultimately it is points on the scoreboard that win the game so lets use the technology and get some of the basics right.


Let us know what you think!

Come on NZRFU, listen to AT!

It's not like it's a hassle to find a TV camera at a Super 12 game now is it!

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