New TMO trials for live Premiership matches

We knew the Aviva Premiership would trial the new TMO ideas outlined by the IRB earlier in the summer. Here’s the detail on how it will work:

Television Match Official
This trial, which has been supported by the RFU’s Laws Sub Committee and the TMO Steering Group, will take place in all matches shown live on either ESPN or Sky Sports, and allow the match referee to refer to the TMO incidents that have led to the scoring of a try at any point from the last stoppage in play. In addition, the TMO will be able to intervene in incidents of foul play.

The full TMO trials are as follows:

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

  • When match officials are unsure whether foul play has occurred anywhere on the field or in-goal
  • When match officials believe there may have been an infringement by the team that scored a try
  • When match officials believe a try was prevented by an infringement
  • To confirm the success or otherwise of kicks at goal
  • Infringements listed by the IRB include knock-ons, forward passes, player in touch, off-sides, obstructions, tackling a player without the ball, foul play and double movement in the act of scoring.
  • How does TMO adjudicate?

  • When asked to intervene by the referee (except for incidents of significant foul play where the TMO can ask the referee to stop the game)
  • Referrals can now go back to the previous restart, i.e. penalty kick, free kick, lineout, scrum, kick-off
  • If it is not clear, the TMO is to advise there is no clear evidence and the referee will need to make a decision
  • TMO to advise on the type of infringement, the recommended sanction and where play is to restart
  • TMOs can be advised on infringements by the team that scored or touched down, as well as if a try has been prevented from being scored
  • If there is doubt as to whether the try would have been scored the TMO must then advise the appropriate sanction
  • If foul play is referred, the TMO is to make recommendations as to the appropriate sanctions, as an assistant referee can currently do.
  • RFU Head of Professional Referee Development Ed Morrison: “The modern game is fast-paced and action-packed and it is important that our officials are equipped with the best tools to ensure that sometimes critical incidents are observed and acted upon. The referee is in charge of the game but him and his assistants to be able to draw on the TMO in such circumstances will help us maintain the high standards of officiating that we have in the Aviva Premiership.”

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