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Match official innovations proving successful at World Rugby U20 Championship

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Press Release

18th June 2018

Match official innovations successful at World Rugby U20 Championship

The World Rugby U20 Championship not only showcases the future stars of the game, but is also the platform for innovations that, if successful, could feature on the test match stage in the future.

Reflecting World Rugby’s commitment to game simplification and clear, consistent and quick match official decision-making, the following has been introduced at the 2018 Championship in France:

The debut of a simulator for Television Match Officials to practice honing their communication and decision-making skills, with the goal of quicker accurate decision-making The TMO process has also been tweaked to allow for the outcome to be reached faster. While the steps performed by the TMO have not changed, World Rugby have allowed the TMO process to start without waiting for the broadcast director to introduce it

The fourth and fifth officials, in addition to team management have been trialling an electronic system for the management of replacements. The system was used in the first two rounds and showed how technology can improve the process, reduce errors, lesson the environmental impact by removing paper and cards and provide a live data feed for broadcast to reduce the reliance on the broadcast floor manager to confirm changes with the officials at a busy time

World Rugby High Performance 15s Match Official Manager

Alain Rolland said: "The World Rugby U20s is the breeding ground for the future stars of the game and in many respects the competition plays the same role for up-and-coming match officials and match official processes.

"Like fans and teams, we want the game to be all about what’s happening on the field of play and these trials are aimed at speeding up the match official team decision-making process and achieving consistent, clear and accurate decisions.

"The feedback thus far from the match official team is encouraging and the longest average TMO time has been reduced by 10 per cent at this Championship with these innovations. We look forward to undertaking a full review at the end of the Championship to understand whether, like the players, these innovations will graduate to Rugby World Cup level."

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