Hawk Eye to help TMOs ahead of Rugby World Cup

Interesting developments from World Rugby:

-World Rugby initiates new video review technology trial
-World Rugby committed to accurate and efficient decision-making
-Player welfare enhancement at heart of trial
-Trial begins on 21 February in Guinness PRO12

World Rugby is collaborating with Hawk-Eye Innovations, Rugby World Cup 2015 host broadcaster ITV and Sky Sports to trial innovative video review technology for consideration ahead of England 2015.

The objective of the trial is to determine how new technology can enhance player welfare, while strengthening the accuracy and efficiency of the television match official (TMO) decision-making process.

With England 2015 set to be the best-attended and most-viewed rugby event to date, the approach underscores World Rugby’s commitment to ensuring the best-possible service 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 delivered by Hawk-Eye’s ‘SMART Replay’ technology.

The trial will debut on 21 February in partnership with PRO12 Rugby, which has agreed to participate in a live test of the technology with full support of Sky Sports at selected matches, for the remainder of the 2014-15 Guinness PRO12 season. Further trials will take place at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Italy with the input of ITV, as the countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015 gathers momentum.

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 Hawk-Eye and ITV as well as PRO12 Rugby and Sky to determine how we can enhance speed and accuracy in these critical areas.

“While this is not a fait accompli, we are excited by the proposed system developed by Hawk-Eye that has clear benefits for the match official team, the medical team and fans around the world and these live trials will help us determine a technology approach for Rugby World Cup.”

Managing Director of Hawk-Eye Stephen Carter added: “As rugby fans, we’re very excited about the opportunity to use our technology to help the TMO and medical teams make accurate and fast decisions. We would like to thank World Rugby for taking a strong leadership position and we are confident that our technology can further enhance player welfare and accuracy of decision-making.”

John Feehan, Chief Executive of PRO12 Rugby, stated: “We are delighted to assist in the development of any systems to improve player welfare and the match officiating process. World Rugby, Hawk-Eye and both Sky Sports and ITV are to be commended for bringing the process this far and the Guinness PRO12 is glad to provide the opportunity to trial this technology and progress this welcome initiative further.”

Hawk-Eye’s ‘SMART Replay’ is already being used by a number of sports including baseball, athletics, horseracing, 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

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