For anyone that’s watched a single England match over the past couple of years will know, the game can lack fluidity at times. When the game is played at a high tempo there is arguably no better sport in the world to watch, but when there’s dead time for the setting and resetting of scrums for example, it can easily turn those not familiar with the sport, off.
To counteract this, rugby’s key people met last week to consider ways to improve the flow of international rugby.
One of the revolutionary ideas being considered is to introduce a timer on scrums and line-outs to ensure the breaks in play don’t last too long. The idea is to speed up the game ready for the spectacle that the 2023 World Cup promises to be.
The ‘stop clock’ timer would be displayed on the big screens for all the crowd to see. It would also be used for place kicks which could give fans a clearer idea of the time remaining, a concept that is already in use in the Top 14.
World Rugby is also contemplating broadcasting interactions between the referee and television match officials [TMO] to fans inside the stadium, a move that could heighten the atmosphere and the excitement already in the grounds.
World Rugby boss Sir Bill Beaumont described last week’s conference as “the first step towards a reimagination of our sport”.
Alongside these possible changes, over the next few weeks the sports governing bodies will be discussing the constant arrival of water carriers during matches and the time it takes TMO’s to make decisions.