Aussie TV channel, Fox Sports, have complained to the ARU about the Waratahs decision to wear the players initials and not numbers on the back of their jerseys.
“We weren’t consulted in any way shape or form, which itself is upsetting, and we’ve launched an official complaint to Sanzar via the ARU,” said Fox Sports’ executive producer of rugby, Matt McKeown. “We can understand what they’re trying to do, and we’re not trying to say no to any innovation, but this one would just be a nightmare.”
McKeown believes the concept would be confusing for fans and commentators and untenable for statisticians and officials. Fox Sports wants the concept limited to Saturday’s final trial fixture against the Crusaders, or an alternative plan such as players selecting their own numbers, as Australia’s one-day cricketers do.
Sanzar’s spokesman said it would hold an investigation into the NSW plan. “We are examining the consequences, however the issues here really relate to other stakeholders and what the implications of it are,” the spokesman said. “We believe there needs to be full consultation with broadcasters and other parties before any determination is made as to whether this should be a season-long practice.”
Crusaders coach Robbie Deans told the Sydney Morning Herald: “I don’t imagine that Sanzar would be that excited about it. There might be a loophole in year one but there won’t be in year two. From the public’s perspective I would have thought it’s advantangeous to have a uniform identification system.”