Wille Roos in Joburg … Gerrie Coetzee in Bloem … We have some real issues with the TMO says Tank Lanning in is eNCA.com column. Could the actual size of the screen being used be the problem? Whatever the cause, it is a blight on the game.
Well, blow me down with a feather … TMO Willie Roos was right! Well partly …
When Nic Groom tackled Marnitz Boshoff on the WP tryline, no ruck or maul had been formed and it was a plain and simple tackle, and the laws are pretty simple:
15.6 (a) After a tackle, all other players must be on their feet when they play the ball.
15.6. (d) At a tackle or near to a tackle, other players who play the ball must do so from behind the ball and from directly behind the tackled player or a tackler.
So WP’s Damien de Allende wasn’t part of the tackle, he was an “other player”, and did indeed come in from the wrong side. Did he prevent a certain try from being scored? One could argue that Groom had already done that legally. Did he deserve a yellow card? There were many instances in the game of players coming in from the wrong side and only getting penalised.
WP coach Allister Coetzee is arguing that that there was a “blatant knock-on” before Boshoff even reached for the tryline, while Lions coach Johan Ackermann declared it a “real bonus” for his team.
It was a massive call, and while his colleagues might defend Roos until the cows come home, I thought the decision smacked of sensationalism and a man looking for time in the spotlight.
Throw in what happened in Bloemfontein, and I think we have a real issue with the TMO …
In the Cheetahs vs Griquas game in Bloemfontein, Australian lock Rory Arnold (not sure how his move to Kimberley snuck in under the radar) was red carded for biting Cheetahs replacement hooker Ethienne Reynecke.
Biting! Right up there with eye gauging and testicle pulling in terms of disgusting acts that simply cannot be tolerated on a rugby field … And of course anyone guilty of biting should be red carded and banned from the game for a very long time.
But first you need to be guilty of the crime …
It was all pretty peculiar, and to my mind another indictment on the TMO. After having been adjudged to have scored a very dubious late try by TMO Gerrie Coetzee (I have a 60 inch HD screen at home and could not see the grounding of the ball), Arnold was then sent off for biting – based on “Conclusive” evidence seen by Coetzee in his TMO room next to the commentators.
Television replays showed Reynecke tackling the lock with his arm pushed against Arnold’s mouth. After the try was awarded, Reynecke showed referee Craig Joubert what he believed to be bite marks on his arm. Joubert then rightfully referring the decision upstairs.
As per the grounding of the ball in the so called “try”, it was almost impossible to see on TV replays what exactly transpired, but Coetzee came to the conclusion that it was a deliberate bite and suggested Arnold be sent off.
Please, I am in no way defending biting or a biter, but given the heinous nature of the crime, and the damage a false accusation could do to a player, should one not be 100% sure before imposing sanction? Could Arnold not have landed on Reynecke’s arm (stuck out in order to try and prevent the ball from being grounded) with his mouth open, and thus left teeth marks rather than bite marks?
We will find out later today when Arnold has his disciplinary hearing …
The TMO, brought in to assist on field officials in making tough calls, seems to be causing more problems than solving them. Are the current crop not competent? Or are they feeling obliged to make big calls when even super slow-mo TV replays are not conclusive?
One simple explanation might actually be the size of the screen being used. During my time as a TV analyst, I was always amazed the size of screen given to us – which was more cell phone like than 42 inch plasma like. And TMO’s use similar size screens, meaning that both commentators and TMO’s make calls based on a view that is far inferior to what many of us “Normal” viewers see.
Whatever the cause, it is a blight on the game, and needs rectifying.