In his recent column for Wales Online, Nigel Owens, the renowned former referee, has advocated for significant alterations to the officiating of rugby games in the aftermath of a contentious Rugby World Cup.
Reflecting on the events in France, the Welshman identified several key areas that he believes require attention and adjustment.
Owens recently said: “More people involved means more inconsistency – and it’s that inconsistency that’s spoiling our game. Something has to be done.”
Dump the bunker:
Owens wrote: “During the Rugby World Cup, I made no secret of my thoughts on the new TMO bunker. While it certainly showed how it can help to speed up games, it hardly reduced controversies or improved decision-making during the tournament and, in my opinion, ended up being used too much when the decisions should have been made by the on-field referees.
“At the moment, it feels like the TMO is refereeing matches and that is not a road that rugby should be going down. While technology has its place in the game, how it is used currently needs to change.”
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Scrap the drop-out:
Owens wrote: “It was hoped that they would improve player safety by reducing the number of pick-and-gos and encourage teams to spread the ball along the back line rather than bulldoze their way over to score.
But if you look at games now, teams are still picking and going and they’re still bulldozing their way over the line. If anything, it rewards negative play as the defender can just chuck themselves under the ball and hold it up.”