World Rugby has announced that enhanced video replay and review technology will operate at Rugby World Cup 2015 following successful trials.
In a first for a major rugby competition, Hawk-Eye’s SMART Replay technology will be used to strengthen the accuracy and efficiency of the Television Match Official (TMO) decision-making process, while providing invaluable support for medics in the area of identifying and reviewing head impacts.
With England 2015 set to be the best-attended and most-viewed rugby event ever, the approach underscores World Rugby’s commitment to driving forward the player welfare agenda and ensuring the best-possible experience for teams and fans.
While the protocol will be unchanged relating to the questions that the referee asks of the TMO, the technology that the TMO will have access to is being enhanced with access to simultaneous multiple angle replays in real-time and slow motion along with zoom-functionality delivered by Hawk-Eye’s SMART Replay technology.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "Technology is an important component of the rugby performance and fan engagement environments and Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to showcase innovation and performance to a record global audience.
"Central to our sport is the integrity of player welfare and the match official decision-making process and we are delighted to be collaborating with Rugby World Cup 2015 host broadcaster ITV and Hawk-Eye to deliver a solution that will enhance these critical areas.
"Following successful tests, the system has clear benefits for the match official team, the medical team and fans around the world."
The system will also deliver benefits to the citing and judicial process as well as delivering additional angles for team review and preparation between matches.
ITV Project Manager Paul McNamara added: "We are pleased that the Hawk-Eye technology will supplement the traditional replay and review procedure. At critical moments the new technology will be able to add a split screen and zoom feature to the existing camera angles to help the TMO and referee in the decision-making process.
"The technology will play a crucial role in allowing medical teams to assess potential injuries and react accordingly. We look forward to a successful working partnership and we are confident it will improve the coverage for all rugby fans around the world."
Managing Director of Hawk-Eye Stephen Carter added: "After undergoing a successful testing period we’re excited and confident that our SMART technology can make a meaningful contribution to the adjudication and player assessment processes at this year's Rugby World Cup. Hawk-Eye are proud to be a part of such a prestigious event."
Hawk-Eye’s SMART Replay is already being used by a number of sports including baseball, athletics, horse racing, football, badminton, volleyball and Australian Rules football. The technology works by recording all broadcast angles in real time and making this content available immediately either on-site or remotely to help multiple stakeholders across sports officiating, player welfare, coaching and content management.