‘This cannot continue’ – Ex-All Blacks boss Steve Hansen blasts ‘time-consuming’ officiating as he calls for change

Colin Newboult

Former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen in 2023.

Rugby World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen has reiterated his calls for change over how the sport uses the television match official (TMO).

The former All Blacks head honcho believes that rugby is being harmed by the TMO, which can rule on everything from foul play to try-scoring moments.

In the World Cup final between New Zealand and South Africa, there were several stoppages during the match as four yellow cards were handed out – with Sam Cane’s being upgraded to red.

Although Hansen felt that the majority of the decisions were correct, he was not enamoured with the general spectacle.

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Immediately after that match he told The Breakdown that the game should ‘sack the TMO’ and, just over a month later, he wants to see World Rugby alter the officiating process.

“There should only be one question from the on-field referee to the TMO: ‘is there a try or not?’ The TMO should not intervene elsewhere,” he told Midi Olympique.

For that to happen, it needs fans, players and coaches to buy into the change and understand that referees will ultimately make errors.

“The coaches and players must today remember that a referee is a human being who can make mistakes,” Hansen added.

“Currently, 15,000 clubs in the world are talking on a Monday morning about the refereeing at the weekend. This cannot continue.”

The accuracy of the officiating, certainly for game-changing calls, has arguably never been better, but Hansen feels that it is coming at a cost.

Angry fans

New Zealand’s former head coach believes that the supporters get frustrated when it takes too long for certain decisions to be made.

“Nowadays, international rugby is run by replays: it’s time to put an end to video refereeing outside of situations where the game director wants to check the validity of a try,” he added.

“It’s all so time-consuming, it ruins the match so much and fuels the anger of the supporters in the stadium.”

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