Recently a meeting of SANZAR coaches and match officials was held in Sydney, as is usual before a new season of Super Rugby. Some game management issues were highlighted.
They concern the extended use of the television match official (TMO), certain focus areas for referees and the immediate assessment of possible concussion.
This is part of the SANZAR mission to make the game easy to play, easy to referee and easy to watch.
This is being tested around the world and will be applied in Super Rugby in 2013,
The TMNO may now be consulted if a 'clear and obvious' infringement is suspected in the lead-up to what would be a try.
The TMO, referee and assistant referees will be able to refer these incidents as far back as the last restart of play but no further than two phases (a phase is defined as a ruck or maul). Previously the TMO could be used to look at only the actual scoring of the try over the try-line.
The TMO may now also be asked to look at foul play incidents, only if an incident is potentially a serious act of foul play, which may therefore attract a yellow or red card as part of the sanction. A TMO can
also assist the referee with the identification of a player who committed foul play.
Super Rugby coaches and referees have agreed the Big 3 areas that the game should concentrate on in 2013 to improve the spectacle for the fan. These are; quick ball, scrum engagement and creating space. The referees will focus on key elements under each of these headings.
a. Quick ball
* Focus on the tackler first. He must roll away from the halfback, not towards him.
* Tackler assist must be clearly seen to release the tackled player
* Closely monitor players taking out defenders in front of the ball
* Sealing off is to be penalised when the opportunity exists for a defender to be in the position to contest the ball
b. Scrum Outcomes:
* Scrum accuracy to be measured for every engagement.
* Stability must be evident before calling 'SET'.
* Tighthead must hit straight.
* Loosehead must hit up and bind.
* Monitor fast wheel on axis. The team must gain forward momentum before wheeling.
* Stop means stop for players in front of the kicker.
* Ruck management to be stepped up.
3. Pitch Side Concussion Assessment
This was trialled in The Rugby Championship last year and will continue in Super Rugby this year..
* 5 minute concussion assessment test for players suspected of having a bad head knock and could be concussed.
* Similar in operation to the 'blood bin', i.e. it does not count towards substitution numbers.