"At a crossroads" - Nigel Owens calls for major changes after Rugby World Cup - Ruck

“At a crossroads” – Nigel Owens calls for major changes after Rugby World Cup

Popular Welshman Nigel Owens has called for major changes following the World Cup, suggesting the game is at a crossroads for change.

Writing in his column for Wales Online, Owens began: “I think rugby itself is at a crossroads at the moment. For me, there are three big issues that need to be looked at. “

#1. TMO/Bunker

Owens said: “It just feels like the TMO is refereeing games at the moment and that’s not right. Your best man is on the field and they should be making more of the big decisions. Between the on-field officials, TMO and the bunker you had six people having a view or opinion on a decision. Too many cooks in the kitchen has never been so true.

“Whether you agree with Cane’s red card or not, the guy who should be making those key decisions should be the man in the middle. It shouldn’t be sent to a bunker. They’re not international referees, but they’re making international refereeing decisions.

Referee, Frank Murphy goes to the TMO during the Heineken Champions Cup Match between Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate on 15 April. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

“Wayne Barnes was appointed to referee that final because he was deemed the best person to referee that final. He’s the one who should be making those decisions. Certainly if I was reffing that game, there’s no way I’d want to send it to two people in the bunker to make that decision. It also means that now referees are no longer giving red cards themselves on field and to me that is wrong.

“What’s more, it’s not doing anything to eliminate the controversy. At the moment there are red cards being given for highly contentious incidents, and it’s in danger of spoiling the appeal of the game for supporters.

“I also think that when you have these sorts of red cards dished out for debatable decisions, it does open referees up to the sort of abuse we’ve seen recently. That’s not to excuse it in any way. It’s still utterly wrong. But when there’s controversy, everyone’s going to have an opinion and that’s inevitably going to be taken too far by some.

“All in all, technology as a whole is being used far too much in the game. The TMO should only be used as a last resort. I would personally reel back their powers and only use it to check the grounding or the act of scoring a try as was the case a few years ago.”


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