24 Oct 2015

World Rugby won't change TMO protocols

12:12 pm on 24 October 2015

Rugby's governing body has no plans to review the use of the television match officials, despite a furore after it was not invoked during the controversial finale of Australia's World Cup quarter-final win over Scotland.

Craig Joubert runs from the field RWC2015

Craig Joubert runs from the field RWC2015 Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Australia edged the Scots 35-34 at Twickenham with a last minute three-pointer and, while TV replays showed the decisive penalty may have been awarded in error, the referee had not been permitted to consult the TMO due to the nature of the infringement.

"In the build-up to the tournament we have been at pains to explain the exact remit and protocols around the TMO," a World Rugby spokesman told Reuters.

"The protocols are available on the website," he said, adding that there are no plans to extend them.

South African referee Craig Joubert awarded the decisive penalty for deliberate offside in the clash.

Replays showed the decision should probably have been for accidental offside - resulting in a scrum which may have allowed Scotland to hang on to their lead and advance to the semi-finals.

Howls of protest from players and pundits followed, all complaining that Joubert had not consulted the TMO over the decision.

Rugby luminaries including Ian McGeechan, Clive Woodward, Michael Lynagh, Lawrence Dallaglio and Gavin Hastings, all working as media pundits, were united in saying the TMO should have been involved.

Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw and coach Vern Cotter also lamented the lack of a TMO referral, as did the vast majority of the near-80,000 Twickenham crowd, with boos ringing around the ground as Bernard Foley slotted the penalty.

"I don't know what the protocol is," Laidlaw admitted. "But you could see from the way he (Joubert) had taken his time that he had a good look at the big screen and wasn't sure."

World Rugby's rules clearly state that the TMO can only be used to determine on acts of foul play, ruling on an infringement in the build-up to a try and to check the grounding of the ball and kicks at goal - but not whether the penalty for offside was correct.

Joubert also drew criticism for running off the pitch at full-time instead of following the usual procedure of shaking hands with his assistants and the players.

However, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper was reluctant to offer any sort of opinion on Joubert's performance.

"We do a full review of the referees post-game, that process is underway so I don't really want to comment on the specifics of the decisions taken or what Craig did before or after the game," he told the BBC.

"Maybe he was keen to get to the bathroom? We'll find out and we'll talk with Craig - but he is a superb referee."

- Reuters

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