Tuesday, 21 August 2012

TMO....Close but no cigar?

Due to all of the television coverage and camera accessibility to so many games, we are now at one with the TMO- television match official. This technology is a huge advantage for referees and teams to decipher whether a try can be awarded or disallowed cutting down on chances of a controversial and pivotal moments in the game
This is one big advantage rugby officials have over football referees. The reasoning behind the delay in football is they say it should cross all levels of football. If it's to be used in the premiership then it should be in the 'half cocked egg and spoon league'. Playing equality though all levels but also costing a bucket load of cash. It's a fair point that nobody should be treated differently, but with all the cameras at premiership games why not at least start there. The decision is now in heavy discussion within FIFA and potentially in 2013 goal line technology could well be introduced.

With rugby it still seems to be almost but not quite. I feel if you are going to use the TMO in premiership matches then it should be ALL premiership matches. Within this day and age continuity is crucial in the aim of fair play.
A prime example in which the old rules and lack of camera's were called into question on one weekend in the Aviva Premiership last season. Bath had a game against Sale Sharks at the rec (No TMO available). It appeared that Matt Banahan had crossed the line, but the official was not in a good enough position to see if it was grounded. So on the evidence he had the try was not awarded and a scrum 5m out was awarded. If the try had been given Bath would of had their blushes saved after being 10-0 up at half time, and potentially winning the game. The game eventually ended 13-16 to Sale Sharks. Obviously Bath lost the fixture due to letting Sale back into the game not because of the lacking in TMO but highlights the importance that in a televised fixture the try would of been awarded.
On the same weekend a controversial moment occurred but the new TMO rules would eradicate such issues. During the Tigers v Saints match in which  Tigers won 30-25. Agulla ran in a 50m try to score the winning points. The score at the time was 23-25 in Saints favour. As the move began Geordan Murphy was down receiving treatment. As the moved progressed Murphy sprang to life, sprinted across the pitch into Ben Foden taking him clean out! Allowing the try to be ran in and the game to be won. As it was one phase of play it was part of the try scoring move now the TMO could be called into action and deem Murphy's action illegal.

The TMO is a brilliant advance on the game and with the new rules added to the system will aid the fairness and cut back on infringements but equality of use and a review of its uses surely in need to be looked at.

Yes now the track back on the last phase is potentially a step un the right direction but I feel not quite complete. For a few the track back will lead to more stop-start happening although I can only see it adding a possibility of a few seconds to the already time delay.

While enquiring with the premiership over full TMO in all fixtures theese are the responses I received.

BB '@premrugby will the TMO be standard at all prem fixtures or just televised matches??? Surely even across the board for a true representation'

AV '@BathBytes There is only a TMO in place at live matches'

BB '@premrugby does that really show equality in fixtures? Surely should be one rule for all?'

AV ' @BathBytes Well, there has never been a TMO at non-live matches in any League in the world'

Another Twitter user also posed a question.

ST ' @BathBytes @premrugby Cameras are at all grounds for highlights so why can't TMO be employed? Surely it's a help for ref/fans not viewers?'  Simon Trenchard (@simontrenchard)

AV '@simontrenchard @BathBytes Four cameras are sent to every game for highlights/analysts which are not enough for TMO'

BB' @premrugby @simontrenchard how many cameras are needed to secure TMO?'

From this no response was given. I am of the understanding more camera's would be required for more angles, but when clubs such as Bath have a large screen and the crowd are able to see if it's or try or not then surely the officials can aswell.

A statement I was sent seems to sum the TMO system up perfectly.
'Makes the TMO a by product of TV coverage, rather than a requirement to give correct decisions at all fixtures.' (@simontrenchard)
This seems just to highlight unless there is money being earned in a match then the full treatment of premiership standards are denied. Leaning towards the question is money completely engulfing rugby? Perhaps I'll leave that debate for another day!!


Monday, 6 August 2012

Learning curve or reality check?

The first piece of silverware was delivered to London Irish in the form of the JP Morgan's 7's tournament. The exiles managed to come back from a 23 point deficit in a last second resurrection to snatch the trophy.

Bath showed in their group stage a Kingsholm the potential with a band if Blue, Black and White brother's to demonstrate their worth.
The first two pool matches went much to plan with Bath running out victorious, showing dynamism and strong running. Slick offloading, powerful running and accurate kicking saw them as the only side to win back-to-back wins in the entire contest. When the final bout came against Gloucester positivity was high, but for any team to face the Cherry and Whites in their own coliseum of Kingsholm would be a mighty challenge. This sadly was to become apparent as Bath ran out of legs and Gloucester proved a dominant force running out the victors leading on to the final at the Rec.

Bath with a home advantage seemed the time to show the world they were back ready for a new beginning and prove they are prepared to mix it with the big boys.
Gloucester on the other side of draw with Sarries and Sale to contend with so if Bath wanted to exact revenge the only place would be a final show down. Bath's side left them with the Exile pairing of Welsh and Irish to do battle with.
For Gloucester the superiority of the week before continued sweeping sale to one side, although a tougher harder game ensued Sarries also could not defeat the Cherries.
For Bath the first up fixture against Welsh saw a superb display of what we hope to see continue in the 15's this season. After Welsh had defeated Irish a west country derby seemed on the cards only the Irish contingent of London could halt it......and That they did. By coming out hard fast and clinical they were three tries to the good before Bath had barely touched the ball. Salvation seemed possible by Biggs running in a brace before half time and hope for the fight back in the second half was still in grasp. Irish had other plans hitting in another three tries unanswered lining themselves up against Gloucester and ending the Blue, Black and White dream of early silverware to role into the oncoming season.
A consolation for many Bath fans was to see Gloucester lose at the death and for Bath to of lost to the J.P. Morgan's 7's champions.

On display for Bath were some bright young talent aswell as some seasoned player's. Banahan, Biggs, Heathcote, Mercer, Cook and Woodburn all showed what we can expect from them in a brand new campaign, and let's hope it was a learning curve and not just a reality check!

Onwards and upwards and bring on the pre-season ties when we can see if the new coaching regime can live up to the fans hopes and the players can execute the instructed plans. So close now to that unmistakable blast on the whistle for kick off.