TMO call made 'in realtime'?

Crucial

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A few folk perplexed on Friday night regarding a TMO call on the Blues v Highlanders Super rugby game.
Now I may be unaware of some new direction or protocol given to the TMO to work with or maybe this was simply poor communication but it went something like this.

Yellow on attack with a tackle/ruck near the line. Yellow pick and go around the fringe. Blue hand dislodges ball forward into clear space. Yellow 7 scoops ball off ground stands and pops pass to yellow 9 who scores in the corner. Ref calls for TMO to see what happened with the ball spilling loose.

It was easily seen from the replay that the first 'wrong' was a KO by Blue but the TMO then carefully looks at the pickup by Yellow 7. When viewed frame by frame it appears that he bounces the ball forward from one hand into the other and that in the process it left his first touch for a brief moment.

Now if it was a KO then it was for a split second but still a KO.

The TMO comes back to the ref with a call of 'you can award a try. The KO was from Blue and advantage applies'. The ref asks him if he was happy with the pickup by Yellow 7 to which the reply was 'In real time it looked OK'.

Eh what? In real time the horse I bet on won but the bookies are paying on the photo!

To wind up the home crowd even more Blue were denied a try moments later for a forward pass that was judged in slo-mo but probably wasn't C&O in real time.

Here is the moment in question. so you get a better idea. Sadly I don't have a clip of the replays and TMO judgement.

https://youtu.be/KDsgDUmEXms?t=1m5s
 

Ian_Cook


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Here's my take on the two controversial TMO calls in this match. I'll deal with the easy one first

The no-try forward pass (unfortunately, the video doesn't cover this)
This was the correct call and watching it live, I called it in real time at the time. The ball was so obviously thrown forward out of the passer's hands, that I have trouble understanding what all the bitching is about. The passer's hands went forward and the ball went directly forward from his hands. This was about as clear and obvious as a forward pass can get.

The no knock-on try
This one is a bit harder to judge. Both in real time, and in slo-motion, I could not decide if it was a knock-on or not, so IMO, the TMO made the right call, This doesn't mean that ball was not knocked on, only that it was too difficult to tell. The Law says...

[LAWS]A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
[/LAWS]

... and the clear implication here is that once the player's hand touches the ball, there must be separation between that player's hand/arm and the ball, and then ball next touches the ground (or another player) before it can be ruled a knock-on.... think of a player gathering while running, a stationary ball on the ground. He may well drag the ball forward along the ground for a moment, but so long as there is no separation, this is not a knock-on.

At no point in the video replay sequence is there a frame or frames that clearly show separation between Gold 7's hand and the ball, and in the absence of that, the TMO has to rule play on. As a referee, you can only rule on what you actually see; you cannot rule on what you don't see or what you think you see, or to put it another way, the TMO has only three possible observations..

1. He definitely sees that it IS a knock-on

2. He definitely sees that it is NOT a knock-on

3. He is either unsighted or is unable to say for sure whether or not it is a knock-on.

Both 2 and 3 must result in a call of no knock-on
 

Crucial

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I understand that and agree to disagree on whether there was a clear KO. I thought there was, the TMO didn't. (the ref obviously thought there was enough doubt to ask him directly about it after the judgement)

The query is more around the use of the term 'it looked fine in real time'. Was that just a bad term to use? Is it a legit way of making judgement? Did he just confuse everyone with his choice of words?

Edit: I agree on the forward pass. I think it was only contentious because of the 'real time' comment shortly before and then the decision on the FP was made using slo-mo.
 

Dickie E


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The query is more around the use of the term 'it looked fine in real time'. Was that just a bad term to use? Is it a legit way of making judgement? Did he just confuse everyone with his choice of words?

I think it was a clumsy way of saying "in slo-mo I can't determine a knock-on so I support your decision to play on"
 

didds

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Maybe I've misread this.

If when receiving aa pass the catcher fumbles it, it goes forward, but is then caught before hitting the ground etc, its not a knock on.

How is scooping a ball up into a hand any different?

Didds
 

Ian_Cook


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Maybe I've misread this.

If when receiving aa pass the catcher fumbles it, it goes forward, but is then caught before hitting the ground etc, its not a knock on.

How is scooping a ball up into a hand any different?

Didds

I think you have misread what Crucial said...

"When viewed frame by frame it appears that he bounces the ball forward from one hand into the other"

.. so propelled by the back hand, bouncing on the ground and up into the front hand. I don't rule out that possibility, but for me, it is not clear and obvious that this is what happened.

I wonder what KML1 would have ruled?
 

Crucial

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Apologies. Was a poor description. Ian has it correct. It looked to me (and many others) clear that the ball left his hand and hit the ground before the hand then caught up with it again and the second hand also grasped the ball.

Totally fair enough if the TMO didn't see it as clear and obvious. It was simply the 'looked fine in real time' explanation to the ref that was contentious.

A good example perhaps of where a post game review explanation from the head of the referee team could allay confusion by punters. Without clarification it only adds to the general feeling of not understanding decisions in the game.

If the call simply meant 'I can only see a possible KO in one frame of slo-mo therefore it isn't C&O' most would move on.

I am pleased that the C&O explanation seems to be being heard more often by TMOs in general as it really does dampen controversy and stops commentators pontificating. This could be an example where it should have been used.
 

Ian_Cook


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I think it is fairly well understood that, in some cases, slowing action down actually makes it more difficult to determine what really happened, and what is required is to see it a couple of times at full speed to make a determination.

I have often heard commentators talk about this, and this is not the first time I have heard TMO's ask to see a replay at full speed. Graham Hughes the RFU referee/TMO is one I can recall asking for a full speed replay.
 

Crucial

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Going well into the hypothetical now but I am curious as to the opinions of others.

We usually talk about separation from hand and ball as being a key to deciding whether a KO has happened. The Law doesn't refer to separation at all, it is merely an interpretation. Here is an imaginary scenario that doesn't involve separation but could be ruled as a KO.

The ball has been kicked down field and has pulled up a metre or so short of the line. An attacking player reaches the ball and while still moving forward reaches down and rolls the ball forward along the ground with one hand, over the try line and drops on it to score. On replay there is no clear and obvious separation between hand and ball, yet he never picked it up or grasped it either, his hand propelled it over the line.
Would you be OK with the try being awarded or would that all look wrong to you?

If this is the case for 1 metre is it also the case for a much shorter distance?
 

Rich_NL

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I think I'd be OK as long as there was some element of possession/control, although it would look strange - and without a TMO I'd probably not even consider that contact/possession hadn't been lost, to be honest.

Are you OK with someone diving as they run and sliding over the touchline with the ball underneath them? If so, is the chest/belly contact different to the hand?
 

Ian_Cook


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Going well into the hypothetical now but I am curious as to the opinions of others.

We usually talk about separation from hand and ball as being a key to deciding whether a KO has happened. The Law doesn't refer to separation at all, it is merely an interpretation. Here is an imaginary scenario that doesn't involve separation but could be ruled as a KO.

Separation is implied in the wording of Law 12. Terms like "loses possession" and "hits the ball forward" all imply separation. If there is no separation, then possession is not lost, and the ball is not hit, its pushed.

The ball has been kicked down field and has pulled up a metre or so short of the line. An attacking player reaches the ball and while still moving forward reaches down and rolls the ball forward along the ground with one hand, over the try line and drops on it to score. On replay there is no clear and obvious separation between hand and ball, yet he never picked it up or grasped it either, his hand propelled it over the line.
Would you be OK with the try being awarded or would that all look wrong to you?

If this is the case for 1 metre is it also the case for a much shorter distance?

Peep. Try scored (IMO).
 

Crucial

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I think I'd be OK as long as there was some element of possession/control, although it would look strange - and without a TMO I'd probably not even consider that contact/possession hadn't been lost, to be honest.

Are you OK with someone diving as they run and sliding over the touchline with the ball underneath them? If so, is the chest/belly contact different to the hand?

Good point. I guess the difference is that they aren't playing at the ball with their hands.

To most watchers of the game the scenario I gave would look very strange and would cause a lot of debate afterwards.
 

KML1

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I wonder what KML1 would have ruled?

You all knows I isnt allowed to comment on such things, but in the highlights (one time view only) I only see one knock on by blue.

Look, I think we TMOs often don't use the best language sometimes, but I think I understand what was said here.

I sometimes wish one of the broadcasters would show what happens in a truck during decisions like this, watching the process, variety of options we have, what conversations happen and with whom, the comms equipment, heart rate etc - just to show how pressurised these decisions are. I did suggest it to BT Sport, but to no avail as yet.
 

TigerCraig


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You all knows I isnt allowed to comment on such things, but in the highlights (one time view only) I only see one knock on by blue.

Look, I think we TMOs often don't use the best language sometimes, but I think I understand what was said here.

I sometimes wish one of the broadcasters would show what happens in a truck during decisions like this, watching the process, variety of options we have, what conversations happen and with whom, the comms equipment, heart rate etc - just to show how pressurised these decisions are. I did suggest it to BT Sport, but to no avail as yet.
The new system being used in the NRL (copied from the NFL and MLB with an offsite bunker is working well this year with controversy way down. The best thing is that the viewers can see exactly what the video ref is seeing and can hear all the comms between them, the director and the ref
 

Ian_Cook


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You all knows I isnt allowed to comment on such things, but in the highlights (one time view only) I only see one knock on by blue.

Look, I think we TMOs often don't use the best language sometimes, but I think I understand what was said here.

I sometimes wish one of the broadcasters would show what happens in a truck during decisions like this, watching the process, variety of options we have, what conversations happen and with whom, the comms equipment, heart rate etc - just to show how pressurised these decisions are. I did suggest it to BT Sport, but to no avail as yet.

Keith, in your experience, is it correct what I said earlier about the slowing down of the replay sometimes making it more difficult to understand what happened?
 

Dickie E


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The new system being used in the NRL (copied from the NFL and MLB with an offsite bunker is working well this year with controversy way down. The best thing is that the viewers can see exactly what the video ref is seeing and can hear all the comms between them, the director and the ref

I've seen this on TV. Where is the bunker located and is it the same bunker used for every match? It certainly seems more professional than our approach.
 

TigerCraig


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I've seen this on TV. Where is the bunker located and is it the same bunker used for every match? It certainly seems more professional than our approach.

I believe its at the NRL headquarters at the Sydney Football Stadium. Yep one bunker for all games (same as in US sports)
 

Crucial

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The new system being used in the NRL (copied from the NFL and MLB with an offsite bunker is working well this year with controversy way down. The best thing is that the viewers can see exactly what the video ref is seeing and can hear all the comms between them, the director and the ref

A also think Union could take a good look at how cricket has tidied up the 3rd ump decision process. I know that the variables are more but the way there are set scripts for the ump to use and a clear process to follow takes a lot of string out of the situation.
Having the TMO talk through the thought process and what they are looking at makes things clearer for the on field guys and the viewers.

Ian, I agree that sometimes slo-mo over complicates what is being seen but usually that is the case for judging foul play type situations where, as example, a marginally late tackle can look terrible in slo-mo but unavoidable in real time. If you are looking for evidence of separation, grounding or in-touch then slo-mo has big advantages over real time because you may get that one frame of evidence that zips by too quickly to the naked eye.

At the time what the TMO said made no sense to me whatsoever but after the fact I am putting it down to a poor verbal explanation of C&O. (which brings us back to the concept of scripting answers or terminology)
 

Ian_Cook


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A also think Union could take a good look at how cricket has tidied up the 3rd ump decision process. I know that the variables are more but the way there are set scripts for the ump to use and a clear process to follow takes a lot of string out of the situation.
Having the TMO talk through the thought process and what they are looking at makes things clearer for the on field guys and the viewers.

100% agree with this. Listening to the process as the 3rd umpire talks to his video tech asking for his various replays; "Spinvision", "RTS" and "Hotspot", vocalising his thinking and seeing how he comes to his decision has taken a lot of the mystery out of 3rd umpire decisions. Mistakes are still made (e.g. Nigel Llong's non-dismissal of Nathan Lyon was an absolute howler) but that is directly down to human error and not down to any problem with the technology or communication.
 
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