x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Integrity and trust in question with rugby Decision Review System

Every decision the referees make now is merely a basis for negotiation, rather than the final word. It was never supposed to be like that, writes Paul Radley.

The idea of a system that encourages players to openly challenge a referee’s decision goes totally against the spirit of rugby.

But then the same was always said about cricket and look how that has ended up.

Is it better for having the Decision Review System or worse? More decisions are correct now and the natural breaks afforded in cricket lend the sport neatly to the system.

That said, the authority of the match officials has never been more deeply mired than it is now.

Every decision they make now is merely a basis for negotiation, rather than the final word. It was never supposed to be like that.

So what of rugby? Where should the line be drawn? There already seems to be a fair system in place, where the official can review a decision with the help of someone upstairs watching a TV monitor.

If he goes rogue and makes a howler of his own volition, as Romain Poite clearly did on Saturday, then bad luck.

Instances of that happening are so rare, though, do they really necessitate the overhaul of all the game’s ideals?

“Rugby has always been a sport where honour, integrity and trust are a big part of it,” Bob Skinstad said in Dubai on Thursday.

“You can openly see the language footballers use towards referees.

“If that crept in, in rugby, I think you should demarcate an area in the field you can do it, or maybe a person who can do it, so that it is conversation rather than an accusation.”

pradley@thenational.ae