The Scope of TMOs

Dave Pearson - © Scottish Rugby Blog

There are a fair few people on message boards and comments sections elsewhere wondering why Poite didn’t consult the TMO for the alleged knock-on during Hogg’s try that should have been on Sunday in Cardiff. Had Poite done so, his TMO would have told him that replays show the young man actually has very deft hands and actually nudged the ball then regathered it before hitting the ground. He then stood up and flopped over the line to score.

The very good reason Poite didn’t do this is that he wasn’t allowed to, as the incident was before the act of scoring, not during the act of scoring in the in-goal area: (highlighting below in bold is mine)

Law 6.A.6

(b) A match organiser may appoint an official who uses technological devices. If the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal involving a try being scored or a touch down, that official may be consulted.
The official may be consulted if the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal with regard to the scoring of a try or a touch down when foul play in in-goal may have been involved.
The official may be consulted in relation to the success or otherwise of kicks at goal.
The official may be consulted if the referee or assistant referees are unsure if a player was or was not in touch when attempting to ground the ball to score a try.
The official may be consulted if the referee or assistant referees are unsure when making a decision relating to touch-in-goal and the ball being made dead if a score may have occurred.

However, it has actually happened before, where the TMO has offered up information pertinent but not strictly permitted by the Laws. And wouldn’t you know it is our old pal George Clancy blazing a trail for sensible refereeing everywhere:

That would probably not have saved us, as Poite was confident enough not to see any need to refer it upstairs. Had he done so, might the TMO have offered up the crucial information? It would have been worth it just to see Gatland’s reaction to such heinous infringing of the Laws.

Still, as I have said in other reports on the match, it should have been a much better pass from De Luca.

That would have made this all unnecessary.

If you are interested in reffing matters I could recommend you check out the RugbyRefs.com forum. You might also be interested in an older piece I wrote on whether or not TMOs should have the right to intervene at any point in play.

Rory is the editor of Scottish Rugby Blog, and has offered a fan's view on Scottish Rugby since founding the blog.

5 responses to this article

  1. JP Swain said:

    In an age where far too many decisions go to the TMO, this is one that should be able to, and it’s a mystery to me why it can’t.

    Come on IRB

  2. Ewen Cochran said:

    I suppose going strictly by what is written in the rules then Poite couldn’t refer it to the TMO (even if he had wanted to!) but surely an alleged knock on before a try should be part of the try scoring process anyway, regardless of whether it was the final action or not?

  3. Rocket said:

    A decision by a TMO that a foot was in touch (other than touch in goal) prior to touching down for a try must, by definition then, not be permitted.

    • Rory Baldwin said:

      “The official may be consulted if the referee or assistant referees are unsure if a player was or was not in touch when attempting to ground the ball to score a try.”

  4. I notice the Scotsman were tackling this today without any discussion of the TMO laws at all.