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17th Nov 2021

Will Greenwood makes undeniable point about how rugby is using TMOs

Patrick McCarry

Will Greenwood book

“There was nothing clear and obvious.”

Seán O’Brien was still buzzing after being in Dublin to witness Ireland beat the All Blacks, last weekend, and not even Will Greenwood and his valid T.M.O point could bring him down.

O’Brien faced New Zealand five times with Ireland but was never on the winning side. He did get one over the All Blacks in the 2017 Lions Test Series, which featured a rousing victory in Wellington.

The London Irish flanker was at the Aviva Stadium as Ireland defeated New Zealand 29-20, and he says it was ‘definitely the best performance I’ve seen them give in the past four and a half years’.

Will Greenwood joined O’Brien and fellow co-host Alex Goode on House of Rugby [LISTEN from 3:45 below] and spoke about his recently published book ‘World Class’. While he was glowing in his praise, Greenwood did take issue with the Television Match Official getting involved at a crucial point.

Will Greenwood book

Will Greenwood on New Zealand try that was chalked off

Ireland went 20-10 ahead, after 56 minutes, but a Will Jordan try out of seemingly nowhere gave New Zealand hope. Joey Carbery kicked Ireland six points clear but, on 68 minutes, the Kiwis looked set to go ahead when Akira Ioane cruised through a gap to score.

While Ireland also had a try chalked off in the first half, Will Greenwood took issue with the Television Match Official pressing his case to referee Luke Pearce and showing multiple angles before it was decided Rieko Ioane had made a forward pass. Greenwood commented:

“The TMO, now, is riding side-saddle with the ref, and getting involved in everything.

“The only thing I would say – and I’m conscious I’m sat next to an Irishman, and we’ve just talked about how brilliant they were – they still needed an element of luck.

“Rieko Ioane’s pass to Akira Ioane was about as good a pop ball – he drops off after he gets it, hits, drops off, exaggerates the look – as you’ll see. Akira walks in. Both the referee and touch judges said, ‘Show me something clear and obvious’. There was nothing clear and obvious.

“On the 38th camera angle, which wasn’t level [with play], the TMO’s come in and said, ‘Nah, you’re all wrong. It’s clearly forward’.”

Greenwood contests that ‘we’ve invited V.A.R into our world and it’s not quite been managed properly’.

Seán O’Brien brought up another try-scoring moment that got multiple viewings after a long TMO intervention – the Louis Rees-Zammit score against Fiji, which was eventually allowed to stand.

“Whether [Ioane’s pass] was forward or not,” O’Brien said, “it was a great piece of play.

“Like Rees-Zammit’s try at the weekend, were they checking if there was separation. Don’t even have a look at that. It was an unbelievable thing that he did. It’s a try. Let it go.”