World Rugby back TMO system

Rugby World Cup organisers have backed the controversial Television Match Official (TMO) system, saying accuracy is of utmost importance.

The process came under heavy scrutiny in the World Cup opener between England and Fiji when the 80-minute match ran for more than 100 minutes.

Debate has continued to rage about the four-man panel since the match, however World Rugby claim ‘just 28 per cent of all stoppage time in the opening match was due to TMO’.

“We are confident in our match official team and their ability to apply the TMO protocols,” a World Rugby spokesperson told AFP.

“Our objective is clear, consistent and above all, accurate decision-making and importantly the decisions were correct on Friday night.

“We did experience some small communication issues between the team and the producer, which led to delays, but ultimately the decisions were correct and we look forward to a fantastic tournament.”

The most contested call came when Fiji scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu took a ball from a scrum, ran 50 metres, lunged with two England tacklers desperately trying to hold him back and touched down.

South African referee Jaco Peyper gave the try but then saw images on the giant screens indicating Matawalu may have dropped the ball.

After what seemed an eternity, the TMO overturned the try. Many were dismayed even though the TMO was right.

Clive Woodward, coach of the England team that won the 2003 World Cup, said referees should not be allowed to change their decisions.

“He’s got to say ‘sorry guys, I made a mistake’. It’s a refereeing error (but) once you give it, you can’t then go back. They shouldn’t have changed it – even though the decision was right.”

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