Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. This is the plea from former Test referee André Watson after a television match official took nearly 30 minutes to make decisions during a Currie Cup rugby match at the weekend.
Morris Gilbert writes for Beeld.
Watson, the SA Rugby Union’s manager of referees’ affairs, responded on Sunday to criticism of the extended powers given to the TV officials, also known as TMOs.
Michael Cupido, the TMO during the match between the Blue Bulls and the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, took approximately half an hour to rule on incidents referred to him by the referee, JC Fortuin.
Watson said it had never been the intention to extend matches for such a long time to ensure the correct decisions were made.
“What happened on Saturday was by no means ideal. I agree that matters cannot continue in this manner because then we’ll have to reconsider the extended powers of the TMO.
“But we must keep in mind that the extended powers have applied for only a few weeks. There will be growing pains.
“Much honing has to be done but the principle cannot be faulted because it will result in better rulings,” Watson said.
However, some experts do not agree with him. Among these is John Plumtree, coach of the Sharks.
Plumtree feels the delays are slowing the game down and making it boring while the experimental laws have been introduced specifically to speed up the game and make it more exciting.
Plumtree was particularly critical of the TMO’s new powers to also rule on foul play.
“This is completely unnecessary because players who are guilty of foul play can be punished within the existing structures,” Plumtree said at the weekend.
“That is why officials are appointed to watch every match and cite incidents of foul play.”
Other critics have pointed out that referees may start “hiding” behind the TMOs more and more and that they may in the end not feel free to make any tough calls themselves.Tweet