World Rugby confirms that it is further exploring the Television Match Official Bunker concept to review foul play involving head contact, starting at the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.
World Rugby continues to be open to innovations or technology that have the potential to assist officiating, enhance game flow and advance welfare in line with the key outcomes of the recent Shape of the Game conferences.
The Television Match Official (TMO) Bunker is a concept that reflects that mission, having the potential to reduce lengthy stoppages and promote accurate decision-making for foul play, as evidenced in the current Super Rugby Pacific trial.
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While continuing to consult with stakeholders on this topic, World Rugby can confirm that it will operate a TMO Bunker trial at the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023, hosted in South Africa in June to enable further evaluation. The trial will be based on the following principles:
- Clear and obvious red cards for foul play involving contact with the head will receive a red card resulting in the player being permanently being removed from the game and unable to be replaced
- For any incident where a red card is not obvious, a yellow card will be issued and dedicated foul play reviewers in a central bunker review the incident using all available technology and footage
- Once 10 minutes has elapsed, the yellow card is either upheld and the player returns to the action or it is upgraded and the player permanently leaves the field, unable to be replaced
Consideration will be given to furthering the trial in the test arena ahead of Rugby World Cup 2023 in France if the trial is deemed successful and further adoption is supported by the elite rugby stakeholders, including importantly match officials, players, unions and competitions.
For clarity, orange cards and 20 minute red cards will not feature at the World Rugby U20 Championship.