Warren Gatland believes TMO verdicts have to be accurate – even if it means long delays for supporters and armchair viewers.
The Wales coach was on the wrong end of a disputed call from television match official Glenn Newman during his team’s Six Nations defeat to England at Twickenham where a Gareth Anscombe try-scoring effort was denied.
World Rugby later declared that Newman had made an error and the New Zealander was criticised by some for not taking longer in reaching his decision by examining all available replays.
The fall-out from that controversy comes at a time when football is struggling to adapt to the introduction of VAR – video assistant referee – with many managers and pundits declaring that games are being ruined, and match atmosphere adversely affected, by the long delays while officials review incidents.
Almost four minutes elapsed between Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah being fouled and referee Craig Pawson awarding a penalty, which Roberto Firmino missed, during the recent match between Liverpool and West Brom.
That led to the Football Supporters Federation stating: “FSF policy was always to back goal-line technology provided that the results were instantaneous and didn’t break the flow of the game. Clearly that didn’t happen at Liverpool.”
But Gatland has suggested rugby has the right procedures and that long delays have to be accepted as the price to be paid for accurate decisions.
“I think there’s nothing wrong with the process at the moment,” said Gatland, who questioned Newman’s judgement immediately after the 12-6 defeat at Twickenham.
“We’ve all seen situations with video referees where it’s a judgement call. If it’s a 50/50 call you accept those, but the decision last week was the wrong decision and you expect them to be right at this level.
“Unfortunately, it was made. You have to live with that and move on. That was the disappointing thing about last week.
“I don’t even think it was a judgement call, I just think it was a mistake.
“You have got to get it right. There’s a lot at stake at the very highest level for everyone involved, not just in rugby. Coaches lose their jobs if they lose a game and players lose contracts and positions because of a loss of the team.
“At this level you have got to get the decisions right and, if that’s two minutes longer, so be it.
“We had a game in the autumn where it took four or five minutes on a TMO decision and that’s acceptable.
“I look back on that decision and it went our way, but it could have easily gone the other way.
“It was a 50/50 decision, a judgement call, a try to us and look what happened to the coaches of South Africa – they’re gone.
“If that result had been different, people would still be in their jobs so you have got to take it to the TMO and make sure those decisions are right.”