The powers of video referees are set to be extended as part of new protocols to be trialled globally by the IRB in 2013.
The powers of video referees are set to be extended as part of new protocols to be trialled globally by the International Rugby Board in 2013.
The television match official (TMO) will be able to advise the on-field referee about incidents of potential foul play and also review up to two phases of play before a try is scored.
Currently, the TMO can be asked to rule only on incidents “in goal” – or over the tryline.
The IRB said on Friday it has approved the trial of both extended protocols in international and domestic competition from the beginning of the next respective season in the northern and southern hemispheres. They could be ratified by the IRB council in May 2014.
“Rugby continues to evolve and innovate and there is no doubt that rugby referees have one of the toughest officiating roles in sport,” said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“We are committed to ensuring that they have all the tools they require from conditioning, management and technology to ensure that they can perform to the highest possible standards.”
Initial trials were held in the English Premiership and South Africa's Currie Cup and were deemed “highly successful,” according to the IRB, whose aim is to eradicate obvious infringements in the build-up to tries as well as clear incidents of foul play.
However, Graham Mourie, the IRB rugby committee chairman, said: “It is now important that we educate our match officials to ensure excessive recourse to the TMO must be avoided for the sake of continuity.”
New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore's blatant punch on Wales lock Bradley Davies in the first minute of the All Blacks' 33-10 win in Cardiff in November was an example of the kind of incident that could have been ruled on by a TMO, had he the power to act.