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This is going to make the Rugby World Cup pain worse, isn't it?
Apparently World Rugby has privately conceded that the disallowed Aaron Smith try in the Rugby World Cup final should actually have been allowed.
They're not saying this publicly, but media are reporting that World Rugby have privately acknowledged to the All Blacks that the refs got it wrong.
What happened was that the refs denied the try because the TMO found a knock-on at a lineout in the lead up to the try. But the trouble is, the knock-on was four phases back.
And the World Rugby rules say that if the TMO goes back looking for knock-ons in the lead up to a try, they can only go back 2 phases.
And this is not some random, obscure rule, it's a rule that was passed in the middle of last year. So the refs got it wrong, and the try should've stood.
Now this is going to start the 'what ifs', isn’t it?
Because- what if the try was allowed? Might the All Blacks have won?
Sure, Beauden Barrett made up for it just a few minutes later when he scored a try to replace that try, but it was in a hard to convert-from position, so the conversion was missed.
Is possible that if the All Blacks were given this try, the conversion might have gone through the posts? And instead of losing by 1 point, the All Blacks could've won by 1 point?
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We don’t know, and we never will.
But what we can absolutely know for sure is the TMO needs to change, doesn't it?
The Telegraph in the UK has just published 10 simple and effective rule changes that should be made to rugby referring- and number 2 is reduce TMO involvement.
Amen to that.
And what the Telegraph recommends - on the basis of consulting with coaches, analysts and fans- is that the TMO should only look at try scoring placements and severe acts of foul play, nothing else.
“No slow-motion replays of forward passes – more on that later – and knock-ons, no slo-mo footage of ambiguous double movements.”
I am heartily sick of some guy behind a computer scouring every single movement in the lead up to a try to see if he can find any reason to say "the computer says no".
Limit the TMO and put the passion back in the sport. It won't give the 2023 Rugby World Cup to the All Blacks, but it will stop us wanting to throw our coffee cups at the screen.
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