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Dublin: 1°C Friday 23 April 2021
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Nigel Owens wants to see the TMO used less during matches

Welsh ref would like to see video replays used only to decide on tries.

Owens: Refereed last year's World Cup final.
Owens: Refereed last year's World Cup final.
Image: Andrew Matthews

ACCLAIMED RUGBY REFEREE Nigel Owens wants to see fewer decisions referred to the Television Match Official (TMO) and the final say placed back in the hands of the referee.

Video referees were first introduced in rugby union in 2001 to rule on scores but their function has since expanded greatly to include the phases leading up to a try, and incidences of foul play.

An increased number of stoppages during a game is seen by many as a fair trade-off for a reduction in controversial decisions and refereeing errors on borderline calls.

But Owens, who refereed the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final, says the TMO is used “too often and for too many things.”

“Personally, I think we should go back to where it was five or six years ago where it was only on the goal line, ’Try: yes or no?’” he told Reuters.

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

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Niall Kelly

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