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DEBATE: TMO overrules referee on double movement call as Bulls slip to defeat

BY Stephen Brunsdon  ·  Tuesday Oct 19, 2021

Edinburgh continued their strong start to the United Rugby Championship at their new home stadium with a narrow victory over the Bulls, with the visitors denied a chance to level the match in the closing stages due to a double movement.

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Henry Immelman’s try ultimately proved the difference between the two sides as the hosts came out on top 17-10.

The Bulls had thought they’d set up a chance to equalise in the final minutes as Madosh Tambwe crossed over to touch down after a superb break down the far touchline.

Tambwe was dragged down by opposite number Darcy Graham and then used his leg to propel himself to the line, which was deemed to be a double movement and the try was subsequently chalked off.

It’s an area of the game which has proved to be contentious over the years but one which is generally refereed correctly. That didn’t stop the panel of The Final Whistle having their take on the matter, with former Springbok head coach Nick Mallett predictably having a differing opinion to both Swys de Bruin and Jonathan Mokuena.

The law states that a player tackled close to the line can score, provided they either:

  • Make the ball available so that play can continue by releasing, passing or pushing the ball in any direction except forward. They may place the ball in any direction.
  • Move away from the ball or get up.
  • Ensure that they do not lie on, over or near the ball to prevent opposition players from gaining possession of it.

Mallett refers to a ‘dynamic movement’ which is immediate and is not constituted as a double movement. Referee Ben Whitehouse initially awarded the try before the Television Match Official instructed Whitehouse to review the try, resulting in the double movement being confirmed.

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