TMO debate
Cockerill fears four-hour games due to TMO
ESPN Staff
May 8, 2014
Richard Cockerill wants more careful use of the TMO © Getty Images

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has called for referees to use the Television Match Official more sparingly as he fears rugby will go down the route of American Football with games stretching into three or four hours.

The new expansive powers of the TMO have seen referees check on all things from foul play, to forward passes and also anything concerning dubious tries. Some matches have stretched beyond their expected finishing time and Cockerill wants the TMO's powers curbed.

"I'd prefer it if the checks just went to the very last phase of scoring," Cockerill told the Daily Telegraph. "Look, I would take those kind of things on the chin over the course of a season. But even when you look at some sequences in slow motion, you cannot tell from a television screen whether it is a forward pass or not. And we have had all that faffing about trying to find out.

"Let's get back to where the ref backs his instincts more. The constant use of the TMO has made the ref's job harder. Trust the bloke in the middle. At the moment the refs dare not make a definitive decision until they have checked with the bloke in a caravan somewhere with a bank of screens in front of him.

"The ref is usually a full-time professional. The other officials may not be. Let the ref make the call and we will have to live with it. If we don't, we will end up like American football with four-hour games."

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