Bunker and Shot Clock among new innovations for upcoming matches
Six Nations Rugby will introduce several innovations to the upcoming summer matches, which get underway this Saturday, when Scotland host Italy at Scottish Gas Murrayfield in The Famous Grouse Nations Series.
The new Bunker review process and Hawk-Eye will feature across all games in the Series, with these innovations intended to support referees and match officials in their decision making and encourage speed of game play.
The introduction of a Bunker trial in the Summer Nations Series is part of a game wide ambition to explore its future application and offer additional support to match officials. Referees will remain the lead decision maker during games, but through the trial they will now have the option to refer any foul play incident, to a dedicated `Foul Play Review Officer’ (FPRO) situated within the Bunker, where a red card is not clear and obvious.
If after two video replays the in-play officiating team is unable to determine whether an incident warrants a red card then the referee will refer the incident to the Bunker, and the player will leave the field of play for 10 minutes. The FPRO will then have up to 8 minutes to review the incident using all available technology and footage, to determine the outcome.
The FPRO will then communicate the decision to the in-play officiating team and the referee will either award the player a yellow card (and the player returns to the action following their 10-minute sin bin), or the referee will award a red card and the player stays off the field permanently, unable to be replaced.
Match officials will also benefit from Hawk-Eye technology, that will act as the independent video replay operator, to support referees and enhances accuracy of decision making.
For fans in the stadiums and watching at home, Shot Clock, Ref Cam and Smart Ball match data presented by Sage stand to enhance their match day experience. The reintroduction of Ref Cam is a fan focussed decision, and through the latest technology and equipment, aims to offer broadcasters access to new angles and perspectives from the live games, that can bring fans even closer to the action.
Following a successful trial during this year’s Guinness Six Nations, Shot Clock will be a feature of the Summer Nations Series, giving players 90 seconds to take a conversion, and 60 seconds to take a penalty kick, with the time counting down on screen in stadia and highlighted via broadcast coverage. The application of a Shot Clock is intended to provide players with accurate information, whilst adding to the experience fans can look forward to throughout the games.
Commenting on the innovations set to appear in the Summer Nations Series, Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said: “Bringing the latest technology, processes and rugby focussed innovations into Six Nations Rugby competitions is a core part of helping drive the collective growth of the game. The likes of the Bunker Trial and Hawk-Eye will offer even more support to match officials and the decisions they make in the heat of a live match environment.
“For fans, we want to bring them as close to the action as possible, and innovations like Shot Clock and Ref Cam can do this. Everyone in the game wants to keep developing and pushing new initiatives, and the Summer Nations Series offers a great opportunity to deliver in this area.”