Bunker demand puts foul play review in doubt for Rugby Championship

Bunker demand puts foul play review in doubt for Rugby Championship

A plan to use Super Rugby’s foul play review system at this year’s World Cup has been thrown into doubt over demands an NRL-style bunker system be used at this year’s Rugby Championship.

World Rugby is pushing ahead with a trial of the “on report” system to deal with acts of foul play, where a referee issues a yellow card and a television official then assesses if it should be upgraded to red. World Rugby have asked Rugby Championship organisers to use the system in the SANZAAR tournament in July and August, as well as at its own U2srcs Championship in South Africa in June.

Successful trials would then likely see the system adopted at the Rugby World Cup in France, in a major shakeup of how red and yellow cards are issued in international rugby.

But in a surprise twist, the whole plan is in danger of falling over if the Rugby Championship unions of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina can’t meet World Rugby’s preference that a centralised bunker – separate to the regular television match official (TMO) – be set up for the competition.

World Rugby prefers the review is conducted by a bunker official, however, and not the TMO at the game, given it takes their attention away from the match.

A crunch meeting between SANZAAR, Six Nations organisers and World Rugby has been scheduled for Tuesday night to try to save the trial. Without it, it is unlikely World Rugby would proceed with it at the World Cup.

SANZAAR boss Brendan Morris said the southern hemisphere unions were weighing up whether to proceed, given the technological complexity of linking a central bunker to six different Test venues across Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

A compromise could be sending a second TMO to each location, using the pool of officials World Rugby is considering sending to t

…. to be continued
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