Nigel Owens Has A Brilliant Solution To Help Cut Back On TMO Stoppages


Nigel Owens is of the opinion that the TMO is too heavily relied on.

In recent year the television match offical has become a lot more prominent in rugby, having a much deeper role. It  originally came about to check incidents involving a try, whether a not a player was in touch, grounding etc.

It now has a presence in almost every facet of the game, with the TMO often used to check obstruction, forward passes, whether a player came in from the side and a whole host of other potential infringements.


Watch: Nigel Owens Recalls Brilliant Moment From When He First Refereed Munster Vs Leinster

Owens thinks it’s time to go back to its original purpose and stop relying on it so heavily.

“I think the TMO is used too often and for too many things,” Owens said

“Personally I think we should go back to where it was five six years ago where it was only on the goal line – ‘try yes or no?’

“Then, as a team of officials, we would have to work harder and be better at making the decisions that don’t involve the goal line.

“Things like obstruction, did he come in from the side, forward pass? There are so many things that can go either way and I think you’d probably find that if you make the decision and it’s not replayed then nobody argues with it.

“I also think that would help reduce the issue of players questioning the decision as most of the time they won’t have seen it at all.


Owens did stress however, that he doesn’t feel the TMO is eroding referee’s authority, but he does feel it is eroding people’s perception of it.

“I can understand that people at games want to see the same thing people do at home, or in the hospitality boxes, but replays can make a huge difference – in players reacting on the field, supporters reacting.”

“I’m not sure if the TMO is eroding the referee’s authority, but it is possibly eroding people’s perception of it.

“Sometimes a decision you make in the flow of the game might look a bit different in a replay, especially in slow motion, and you are forced to make a technical decision that maybe you wouldn’t have made.

“Empathy is essential to good refereeing. You understand why something has happened but you might have decided it didn’t impact on what was happening, but then it’s on the big screen in isolation, the crowd’s seen it, you’ve seen it, you can’t ignore it and your hands are tied somewhat.

“You have to remember that rugby’s rules are complex and there are a lot of grey areas. Two different refs might view the same incident differently but that doesn’t necessarily mean one of them is wrong.”

Does Owens have a point? Is rugby now relying too heavily on the TMO?

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