Hawk-Eye to clarify close calls and aid player welfare

State-of-the-art technology is to be used at a major rugby event for the first time to assist medical staff and match officials

ALL-SEEING: Hawk-Eye technology will play a pivotal role at Rugby World Cup 2015


LONDON, 12 Sept – Television match officials at Rugby World Cup 2015 will have technological assistance in the shape of Hawk-Eye for the first time at a major rugby event.

Tennis and cricket fans have become accustomed to the use of the ball-tracking system for contentious calls but Hawk-Eye is breaking new ground in rugby with an enhanced video replay system.

It means that the TMO does not have to rely purely on broadcast footage to make a judgement and it also allows for delayed decisions.

Match-day and team doctors will be able to utilise the technology from the medical room in order to spot possible concussion or head-impact injuries.

Alan Gilpin (ENG), tournament director of Rugby World Cup, said: “Hawk-Eye is looking at every angle from the television broadcaster and playing that back to either the television match official (TMO) in the decision-making scenes or, actually really importantly for us, the medical staff.

“We’re using this technology in the medical room with match-day doctors and team doctors to identify potential player welfare issues, particularly concussion and the identification and management of concussion being a priority.

“It’s using all those television replays to identify quickly that a player is getting up slowly from the back of a breakdown. Should that be someone we’re bringing off the field of play? Or, again using the technology in the head injury assessment, to show the player perhaps why they’re not returning to play.”

The addition of Hawk-Eye has been welcomed by officials, who believe they will also be able to spot infringements as the match continues.

Shaun Veldsman (RSA), World Rugby TMO, added: “While play continues we can still have a look at certain things as we will have a live screen and a delayed screen in order to get the right outcome.”

The system was used when the Barbarians played Samoa last month. As a result Kane Thompson of Samoa was shown a red card by John Lacey for punching Barbarians hooker Saia Fainga’a.

In the same match the technology spotted two potential head injury assessments, proof that the system has real benefits, according to Hawk-Eye managing director Steve Carter.

He said: “We offer synchronised camera views so think about the example of a try being scored in the corner, one angle will show the grounding really clearly, another angle will show the foot in touch really clearly.

"We replay both of those so that, within a single frame of video, you can see whether or not the foot was in touch before or after the ball was grounded.”

RNS js/jrl/ej