Former All-Black coach Steve ‘Shag’ Hansen has basically come out and said: 'What happened to the game I love?'.
Hansen believes the TMO has too much sway in how rugby matches play out. This comes in the wake of the Rugby World Cup Final, where referee Wayne Barnes and the refereeing crew came under a lot of scrutiny for many calls. One egregious instance was an NZ try being disallowed for a South African penalty that occurred several phrases before.
He told Sky Sport that Wayne Barnes does not deserve the criticism he is receiving, rather “the problem is the way that we are controlling the game - it’s being refereed in replay.”
“It’s time to sack the TMO. Get it out of our game other than when the referee asks ‘Is there any reason why I can’t award this try or ‘Is there any reason why I can award the try?’.”
He added that “fans are getting really sick of [the games being] stop, start with no flow”.
Hansen - who won the World Cup as New Zealand coach in 2015 - also points out that the TMO only comes in when the referee has missed a call, not when the referee has made an incorrect call. He uses the penalty against Ardie Savea early in the recent final as an example.
“Ardie’s is a classic case. I don’t care if he didn’t see the replay, I did."
"Clearly, Ardie had let go within the rules - he let go of the player and then got back on the ball and he should have got the penalty, not a penalty against him.”
If nothing changes, Hansen warns, the game is fucked.
“Until we sit down at the very top and work out ‘righto, how do we get some common sense into our officiating of the game?’ we’re going to turn people off watching it.”
Ol’ mate knows a thing or two-hundred about rugby so surely the powers that be take into account what he’s ranting about.