Expanded rights for TMOs on cards

Head of referees in South Africa Andre Watson says the IRB will test scenarios where the TMO is given more power to advise the referees on the legitimacy of tries.

The Bulls profited from a TMO’s limited capacity in responding to a referee’s question when Dean Greyling was incorrectly awarded a try against the Cheetahs at the weekend.

Greyling executed a double movement before placing the ball over the tryline. Referee Craig Joubert missed the infringement and asked TMO Johann Meuwesen: ‘Is there any reason not to award the try?’. Meuwesen was bound by IRB protocol to respond only to the question asked despite clearly knowing the Cheetahs should have been awarded a penalty.

Watson told Die Burger changes have been proposed to expand the TMO’s rights in a bid to avoid similar incidents.

‘According to protocol from the IRB a referee is not allowed to respond to any additional information from the TMO which doesn’t relate to his original question. Johann wanted to give Craig extra information, because it clearly wasn’t a try. But both of them would have ended up in hot water,’ he said.

‘The problem started with Craig not spotting Greyling’s transgression. In this case the protocol led to the wrong decision being made and Craig has taken full responsibility.’

Watson added: ‘[The proposed changes] will allow the TMO to point out foul play and to give additional information to prevent a situation like what happened at the weekend. If there is, for example, a forward pass which leads to a try 30 metres on, he’ll be able to point it out. I really hope the Currie Cup is one of the competitions in which the protocol will be tested. A decision will be made next month.’