Rarely do you get an official in sport who is as famous as the players he is refereeing, in football everyone knew the bald head and piercing eyes of Pierluigi Collina and similarly anyone hearing a player being admonished in dulcet welsh tones will recognise Nigel Owens. I bracket these two referees together because they are probably the peak of their respective professions and when they speak they should be listened to.
So when Nigel Owens recently commented on the over reliance in today’s game on TMO decisions I hope those who run the game were taking note. Owen commented that the TMO is used too often and for too many things and I wonder if his comments were brought about by his experience in refereeing the last Bledisloe Cup match?
The clip above shows the TMO inserting himself into the match for an obstruction decision and whether you believe the decision was right or wrong it is interesting to note that the first item Owens mentions, in his list of items TMOs maybe have too much influence on, is obstruction. In the last Bledisloe Cup match the above incident was not the only time the TMO raised his hand to stop Owens from doing the job he is paid to do and watching the game I felt the TMO just wanted to be noticed.
Yes, if there are serious or dangerous actions which deserve instant punishment then let the TMO highlight these otherwise they should play the role they are allocated, a tool which allows the man in the middle to do his job. Nothing more!