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Can quick call take decision away from officials?

At what point can the players take away final decision from the match officials?
At what point can the players take away final decision from the match officials?

First things first, well played Worcester Warriors, it was a well-deserved, if long-awaited, win at Welford Road last weekend.

Credit where credit is due, Warriors were ruthless when they got their scoring opportunities and took their chances well. Also, a Tigers team without some of its ‘go-to men’ showed decent spirit to fight back to be in a position where they were still playing to win it in the last play of the game. Credit, too, to the home crowd who gave them every backing in those closing stages.

But conceding more than 30 points and five tries at home, they are the stats that show how well Warriors did on the day.

So this is not a blog based on bitterness, but The Tig raising a talking point which involved one of the Worcester tries. It could have been at any game, but is raised here because it happened in front of us.

One of the Warriors tries came from a move which the home crowd – as we would – felt had come from a pass which looked forward.

The coaching team, too, thought it deserved at least a check with the TMO’s camera angles. The referee, though, immediately signalled a score.

Replays drew derision from the home support – naturally – while Warriors went for a drop-kick conversion in front of the posts. As the referee had already awarded the try, they had the right to kick however they chose. But did they go early because they felt the referee would regret his haste and ask for another look. Or were they just in a hurry, it was a chilly day after all?

So does taking a conversion therefore confirm a score?

And does that give the appearance that the players are in charge of the game?

If that is the case, then if the referee asked Dan Cole for a verdict on what has happened at a scrum, you can bet it would be Tigers kicking the ball down the touchline from a penalty on every blow of the whistle.

The technology is there to assist referees because it is not possible to see all angles at all times. The Tig is not against TMO replays. Rugby is a stop-start game anyway, at the top level it has to be because no one could keep going at that ferocity and pace for 80 minutes non-stop, though Tom Youngs has given it a good try throughout his Tigers career.

Also, the rule-makers have been careful in maintaining the referee’s right to remains in charge. So he can have input from his assistants, from the TMO and from the team captains if he wishes, but the man in the middle has final call. Except, as it seems, when a team chooses to take a quick conversion.