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South African Rugby
Currie Cup TV officials to get increased power
ESPN Staff
June 29, 2012
South African referee Craig Joubert, France v New Zealand, 2011 Rugby World Cup Final, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 23, 2011
The sport's leading official like South Africa's Craig Joubert will are set to get a helping hand from Television Match Officials © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Currie Cup
Teams: South Africa

Recent proposals to extend the powers of television match officials (TMOs) are to be trialled in this year's Currie Cup competition in South Africa.

The International Rugby Board announced last month an extensive trial of Law amendments including altering the scope of TMOs who currently can only be called upon to rule on the act of scoring. However, the second tier of South Africa's premier domestic rugby union competition will, amongst other things, allow referees to consult TMOs about incidents of foul play or infringements such as knock-ons and forward passes that might have occurred anywhere on the field in the build-up to a try being scored.

The trial will begin with the first four matches in the new, eight-team Currie Cup First Division on Friday.

"The International Rugby Board (IRB) recently gave SARU dispensation to trial the extension of the TMO Protocol and we are very excited to try them out," said the South African Rugby Union referees boss André Watson. "Referrals can now go back to the previous restart, i.e. penalty kick, free kick, lineout, scrum, kick-off, but not further back than two rucks or mauls. That means numerous tackles may occur."

Watson said the trials would also allow on-field match officials to use stadium screens to decide on matters, while TMOs would have the power to inform referees of "incidents and issues" over and above those usually requested when trying to determine whether or not a try had been scored.

Under the strict trial, TMOs can only adjudicate on the "clear and obvious" and there "must be no doubt". The new remit demands that the TMO advises on the infringement, the recommended sanction and where play is to restart. If it is not clear or there is no clear evidence it happened, the TMOs are to advise it did not occur.

TMOs can also be advised on infringements by the team that scored or touched down, as well as if a try has been prevented from being scored and penalty tries may be recommended. If foul play is referred, the TMO is also to make recommendations as to the appropriate sanctions

The full TMO trials are as follows:

TMO may be referred to as per the current application as well as:

1. When match officials are unsure whether foul play has occurred anywhere on the field or in-goal. 2. When match officials believe there may have been an infringement* by the team that scored a try or touched down.
3. When match officials believe a try or touch-down was prevented by an infringement.
4. To confirm the success or otherwise of kicks at goal.

* Infringements listed by the IRB include: Knock-on, forward pass, player in touch, off-side, obstruction, tackling a player without the ball, foul play, double movement in act of scoring

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