Going Upstairs too often!

I wanted to add my two pennies’ worth on the increasing controversy regarding the use of the TMO these days. I have been less than polite in my blog about the TMO – under the post heading of ‘TMOverused’ – and I wanted to add more here.

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The criticism of this technology tends to come from either the commentators (who were hoping to get to the bar sooner) or the fans of the side who think that they’ve just scored and don’t want it questioned.

The bloke in the little box in the corner of the screen also has to contend with everyone in the ground looking at several replays from all angles on a giant Sony in the corner of the pitch – it’s not always an easy job, but probably better than working on the checkout in Tesco or down a mine. The various TMOs were busy again at the weekend and yet more questions were asked about how often the ref was going upstairs (metaphorically obviously – unless he was suffering from a weak bladder). There was even one suggestion that we might adopt the 3 x reviews system that is used in cricket. This misses the point – it’s the ref who draws a square like he’s playing charades not the players who are hoping for a reverse.

Let’s face it, it’s not perfect but it does cut out some of the more major mistakes that a ref can make in real time and the truth is it’s here to stay.

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The only real problem is the rubbish about forward passes that has crept in since an Aussie coach ‘proved’ that as long as your hands are pointing backwards it’s not going in front. Call me a bit pedantic but I always thought that if the bloke catches the ball in front of the bloke chucking it then it might just be a tad forward. The law doesn’t mention anything about a Paul Daniel’s sleight of hand making it look okay!

The IRB have recently put together a video to explain this and say ‘The whole concept is that the ball must travel backwards out of the players hands, but can move forward through the air, due to basic physics’.

I’m sorry, but that this is tosh – if the wind or physics or even an act of god or Graham Norton moves the ball ahead of where it was chucked from – it’s forward! If not join the NFL where you won’t need a TMO since you also don’t have to ground the ball!

On balance the use of the TMO (forward passes excepted) is a good thing – what the IRB should concentrate on is wtf is going on in the front row of the scrum. Sort that out and we’d all be happy.

It was a great weekend and leaves us just enough unknowns for the last games of the regular season.

The big one is obviously at the Stoop and they must be tempted to see if over the road is free to host the game, as I imagine the M4 north will be jammed on Saturday morning. It is also just about possible for the Tigers to gain home advantage for the play-offs – unlikely but everyone will be watching the games at Franklin’s Gardens and Welford Road to see if there is yet a twist in the Tiger’s tail.

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It was also a good weekend if you’re an England supporter – decent performances from George Ford, Marlon Yarde, Chris Ashton, Ed Slater, Geoff Parling, Michael Patterson, Nathan Hughes, Manu and Semesa Rokoduguni will make Stuart Lancaster feel that he can be competitive in the first test in Auckland against the World Champions, despite not having any players from the premiership Final available.

On the downside he’ll be sweating on injuries to Mako and Billy Twelvetrees.

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