SANZAR propose challenge system

Date published: September 12 2014

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SANZAR are looking to bring in a challenge system in order to combat refereeing errors, with each team allowed three per game.

SANZAR are looking to bring in a challenge system in order to combat refereeing errors, with each team allowed three per game.

Following in the footsteps of cricket and tennis, teams would be able to challenge a referee's decision, while the TMO would be used only for these challenges, leaving the
on-field referee to make the rest of the calls.

There are currently concerns that referees are hiding behind their TMOs at the moment, rather than making their own decisions, and the official in charge would now be responsible for deciding on tries and incidents of foul play.

The news comes after a weekend where both Rugby Championship games featured controversial refereeing decisions, with Argentina denied a perfectly good try when Pascal Gauzère called a knock-on on a charge-down from Leonardo Senatore.

In Australia's narrow win over South Africa, George Clancy came in for criticism when he sin-binned Bryan Habana for a high tackle in the second half, having also penalised Duane Vermeulen earlier in the game for what looked a perfectly fair tackle.

That follows a Super Rugby season marked by numerous refereeing controversies, and SANZAR has decided to take action from 2016 after next year's World Cup.

According to the Australian, SANZAR are still working out the details of the system, in particular whether it would be coaches or captains who decide when to challenge.

What does seem to be clear is that any successful challenge would not result in the loss of a review, but Ewen McKenzie voiced concerns about the amount of time that might be lost if there were too many challenges.

“The only thing I'm mindful of is how much dead time there is in a game,” McKenzie told the Australian.

“If you challenge the call and get it right you can challenge again and theoretically you could have 20 challenges.

“People want to be entertained, they want to be kept entertained, they don't want to be sitting there watching replays. I don't know the solution but it is interesting they at least are having the conversation.”

It is also not clear whether the referees would have any input over the decisions, given that Habana's yellow card last weekend came after consultation with the TMO, so it's doubtful whether that decision would have been overturned even with the new system.

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