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Gaming the TMO

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Gaming the TMO Empty Gaming the TMO

Post by Rugby Fan Fri 13 May 2016, 2:36 pm

Something has cropped up in Super Rugby this season which is causing a bit of a stir. It just happened again in the Rebels vs Brumbies match. I'm starting the discussion in the international forum because I suspect we'll see the tactic more at Test level.

Christian Leali'ifano scored a try for the Brumbies in the first half from a pass which a TMO would probably have ruled forward. As Leali'ifano got up from scoring, his captain Pocock whispered in his ear, and the kicker then took a couple of quick steps before swivelling, and attempting a drop goal conversion.

He missed, but the fact he took it meant the try could no longer be referred, and so he gained his side five points by sacrificing the conversion.

Last week, Folau scored a try for the Waratahs but it was chalked off after the TMO reviewed it, However, SANZAR confirmed that if Foley had taken the conversion before the TMO called to intervene, then the try would have stood. There's an article here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/79754692/Waratahs-to-exploit-loophole-so-dubious-tries-stand-in-future

Foley has now said he won't hesitate to take advantage of that loophole in the future. This was probably fresh in Leali'ifano's mind today but he actually did it before in an earlier match this season against the Chiefs.

A kicker still needs permission to take a conversion, so we are talking about situation where the ref awards a try and has no thought of asking for a review himself. It isn't a regular occurrence, but nor is it uncommon. I think I've seen the tactic used before, perhaps even at the World Cup.

Foley, Leali'ifano and Pocock are all Wallabies, so it's hard to think they won't do the same, should the opportunity arise, in international matches too.

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Post by Scottrf Fri 13 May 2016, 2:39 pm

Why should anyone hesitate?

90% of tries go to TMO anyway, why should they be able to come back to a try after it's given?

Might as well take every try to TMO.

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Post by fa0019 Fri 13 May 2016, 3:29 pm

Surely the ref has to raise his arm first right?

He can't simply touch down and then drop kick. The ref has to give it first.

Simple to counter surely... the ref should wait to raise his arm, ask TMO and tell player he must wait and only then raise if happy????

It reminds me of the catching the ball off a penalty that Victor Matfield did. He used to stand in front of the posts with lifters and would be raised to catch any marginal balls. He did it a few times but was quickly quashed.

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Post by Rugby Fan Fri 13 May 2016, 4:13 pm

fa0019 wrote:Surely the ref has to raise his arm first right?

He can't simply touch down and then drop kick. The ref has to give it first.

Simple to counter surely... the ref should wait to raise his arm, ask TMO and tell player he must wait and only then raise if happy????
Sure. These are cases where the ref has raised his arm to award the try and has no plan to ask for anything to be reviewed. The TMO can still intervene but he usually does so only after having looked at footage. That can take a few moments, which affords a craft team the opportunity to seal the points because the ref is unaware that something dubious took place. It's an information arbitrage.

I'm not clear on how that works for foul play. If the TMO spots a punch during the lead-up to a try, then I wonder if that can still be looked at, even if the conversion has gone over.

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Post by fa0019 Fri 13 May 2016, 4:22 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
fa0019 wrote:Surely the ref has to raise his arm first right?

He can't simply touch down and then drop kick. The ref has to give it first.

Simple to counter surely... the ref should wait to raise his arm, ask TMO and tell player he must wait and only then raise if happy????
Sure. These are cases where the ref has raised his arm to award the try and has no plan to ask for anything to be reviewed. The TMO can still intervene but he usually does so only after having looked at footage. That can take a few moments, which affords a craft team the opportunity to seal the points because the ref is unaware that something dubious took place. It's an information arbitrage.

I'm not clear on how that works for foul play. If the TMO spots a punch during the lead-up to a try, then I wonder if that can still be looked at, even if the conversion has gone over.

Perhaps WR will just simply tell refs to hold fire for 5 seconds to ask TMO every time now until the rules can be changed.

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Post by Cyril Fri 13 May 2016, 4:44 pm

The ref could just have a watch (like they use in football goal-line technology) where the TMO 'rubber-stamps' the try. Given that the ref has to award it before the kicker can even attempt a quick kick I don't see an issue. If the TMO has any doubts he presses the button to request a review.

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Post by Rugby Fan Sat 14 May 2016, 12:38 am

fa0019 wrote:Perhaps WR will just simply tell refs to hold fire for 5 seconds to ask TMO every time now until the rules can be changed.
That would seem sensible but it conflicts with recent efforts by World Rugby to stop TMO involvement slowing the game down.

While the pass in the Rebels-Brumbies game was the final one, and fairly obvious (raising the question of why the ref and two assistants didn't spot it), TMO's can, and do, go back several passes.

There's a school of thought that you might get the right legal decision but end up losing some of the joy of rugby along the way. Sometimes, around 20 seconds of open play gets invalidated. That's not insignificant when ball-in-play time is often just over 30 minutes in an 80 minute game.

I think some refs would prefer to award a try and get on with the game rather than pausing to offer the TMO a chance to find some fault

Interestingly, Rugby League in Australia is making an effort to cut back on TMO involvement after unveiling a new system called The Bunker, and finding pushback.
We can reveal the NRL has spent $3.2 million to set up the much-maligned Central Command Centre, which has come under fire after a series of dubious decisions in its inaugural season. Rugby League Central has a five-year lease arrangement for the facility at Eveleigh, which has been created by broadcast solution provider NEP and uses Hawk-Eye Innovations to provide the video review technology via Telstra. The costs are significantly higher than original estimates and it remains to be seen if the results are worth it.
http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/sin-bin/sin-bin-the-real-cost-of-the-nrl-bunker-revealed-20160430-goites.html

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman John Grant has conceded the bunker needs to lift its game as the NRL's central command centre continues to be hit hard by criticism.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-27/nrl-bunker-has-been-inconsistent-arlc-chairman-john-grant/7361524

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith believes the NRL bunker taking a back seat was necessary to eliminate diving from rugby league.

NRL coaches recommended following a meeting last week that the bunker should be curtailed from making calls in live play. Evidence from Thursday night’s clash between St George Illawarra and Canberra at Kogarah Oval would suggest the game’s governing body has heeded that call.

On-field officials missed a high shot by Joel Thompson on Raiders playmaker Blake Austin in the first half of the Dragons’ golden-point win, with the bunker not intervening to notify referees of the incident. Thompson was later charged with a grade one high tackle charge by the judiciary on Friday and is facing a one-week ban.

Storm skipper Smith said the edict is the right thing to do given he believes players have been increasingly diving to win penalties via the video official.

“I don’t like how the bunker could have a say,” Smith said. “I felt like there was a lot of guys laying down … I’m not saying all players are doing it but there are players out there that are doing it.
http://www.theroar.com.au/2016/05/14/nrls-bunker-move-will-stop-diving-smith/

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