The Vodacom United Rugby Championship is considering implementing Hawk-Eye to speed up match play, says Tappe Henning, the URC’s head of officials.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Henning said the game is being slowed down by the increased number of TMO referrals.
In Saturday’s north-south derby in Cape Town, referee Frank Murphy disallowed a try for the Vodacom Bulls only after a five-minute consultation with TMO Marius Jonker.
“We are very reliant on technology. We want to arrive at those decisions as quickly as possible,” said Henning. “There is technology like Hawk-Eye that we are looking at.
“It will make a huge difference if we were to implement Hawk-Eye for TMO decisions and ball tracking for forward passes,” he added. “Those decisions can be made in an instant.”
Henning says there are plans for the company running Hawk-Eye technology to show how effective it is in a European Rugby Champions game, as well as decide whether the innovation offers significant benefits to justify its cost.
Hawk-Eye is already being used successfully in sevens rugby, and Henning believes speeding up the sport will help increase interest and investment from fans, sponsors and broadcasters.
“People want to see movement and action and, sure, there will still be purists who want to see a drawn-out battle at the scrum and lots of mauling,” he said.
“The product still has to strike a balance. You can’t just run, otherwise you have to go play rugby league.”