World Rugby To Look At Completely The Changing Role Of The TMO

TMO trial.

World Rugby has approved a closed trial that will revise the scope of the Television Match Official (TMO) in the upcoming November tests hosted by Tier one unions.

Confirmation of the trial comes after a full review of the current global trial and the variant used in Super Rugby by a working group of match officials, coaches, players and administrators, reflecting the sport’s commitment to ensuring best-possible match officiating practice.

The key objective of the review was to review current practice with a view to further reduce TMO reliance and time impact, while ensuring clear, consistent and accurate on-field decision-making.

The following principles were agreed following detailed consideration:

  • Try scoring should be an on-field decision with the referee being responsible, but the team of four can all contribute.
  • The current list of potential infringements for which a TMO can be referred will be retained, but any referral needs to be prompt, clear and consistent
  • The ‘on the run’ chat between the match officials and TMO for foul play will be removed with the onus on the referee, who should only refer to the TMO issues that are clear and obvious serious acts of foul play, including penalty kick, yellow card or red card as a potential sanction in order to protect player welfare
  • Match officials can review foul play up to when the game restarts, when a penalty is kicked to touch and when foul play footage becomes available
  • Proposal to include live broadcast of the TMO in action.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said:

“World Rugby is committed to regularly reviewing our match officiating protocols to ensure that they are in the best-possible shape support accurate and consistent match official decision-making and uphold our player welfare focus without adversely impacting on the match. 

“This Television Match Official review reflects that commitment and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the process and look forward to seeing the trial in practice this November.”


This comes after World Rugby also rushed in a Law amendment this week that relates to lowering players to ground safely in open play. The Change concerns Law 9 in the new, 2018, edition of the Laws of the Game.

World Rugby’s proclamation reads:

Law 9.19 – In open play, any player may lift or support a player from the same team. Players who support or lift a teammate must lower the player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by a player of either team.

Sanction: Free-kick

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