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TMO debate
Stop 'post-match witch-hunts' urges Probyn
ESPN Staff
May 18, 2014
Saracens' Justin Melck is issued his marching orders last weekend, a decision overturned on appeal © Getty Images

Former England prop Jeff Probyn has said that TV analysts and coaches are largely to blame for the increasing use of TMOs because of the barrage of criticism they dish out whenever a mistake is made.

Writing in his Rugby Paper column, Probyn said referees could not be blamed for referring more and more decisions in view of the increasing scrutiny they are being put under. "If coaches really want the use of the TMO curtailed then they and the TV pundits must agree to stop post-match witch-hunts of referees and live with any mistakes.

"With the advantage of frame by frame analysis slowing down play and using computer software to enhance areas of a single frame, it's easy to find mistakes made by a referee watching a fast pace game in real time. Pointing out when and where a referee has made a mistake seems to be essential for many of TV's 'experts' in justifying their own views and does little or nothing to help the game. Coaches, on the other hand, seek reasons for losing a match and a 'mistake' by a match official is as good a reason as any."

Even the TMOs, with the advantage of replays and a little time, cannot be blamed for making mistakes. "I have sat on many discipline panels that have reviewed similar incidents and it takes a long time, even with specially prepared videos of the incidents to make a decision as to whether an offence has occurred. To expect a TMO to make that call within a reasonable time scale during a game is ludicrous."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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