After another humiliating defeat at the hands of Royal College, the Trinitians headed back to Kandy with their tails tucked firmly between their legs, but one of the highlights in the first leg of 74th Bradby encounter was, a shocking decision by the TMO (Television Match Official) which has left the Sri Lankan rugby fraternity completely baffled.
With a lead of 31-6 Royal were in complete control going into the last five minutes of the game, but their sixth try which was scored by number eight Himantha Hirushan sparked controversy as it clearly appeared to have an involvement of a forward pass in the build-up. Hirushan who has been massively influential in Royal College’s success in the last few weeks collected the ball from centre Thulaib Hassen in the 66th minute, but that offload clearly was a forward pass.
Referee Dinka Peiris who was unsure about the forward pass consulted the TMO Tony Amit, but to the surprise of thousands of spectators the TMO had instructed him to award the try.
“I was not quite sure about the pass which why I asked the TMO if it was a forward pass and I was told that there was no forward pass which why the try was awarded,” Dinka Peiris told Daily Mirror.
This decision has been one of the talking points within the Sri Lanka rugby community and few have suggested that the TMO did not have enough camera angles to make the right call.
“I didn’t discuss that with the TMO and I was only told that there was no forward pass and that was it,” added Peiris.
Meanwhile, one of Sri Lanka’s finest rugby referees, Dilroy Fernando stated that Sri Lanka TMOs lack the game understanding.
“First of all I must say that Sri Lanka TMOs are not qualified ones and so you can expect this and they have not been updated on the change of laws. Secondly, the technology was only available for certain games. I don’t really understand that. If you are going to use the technology, use it for all games. Why and how do you pick the games which you are going to have TMOs? The Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) should take the blame for this,” Fernando said in an interview with Daily Mirror.
Meanwhile Fernando who has served as a referee in some of the high profiles rugby events in the world also questioned the need to use TMO in Sri Lanka.
“You look at our rugby at the moment. We are fifth in Asia and we use technology for our school games spending so much of money. Hong Kong and South Korea who are doing much better at rugby do not at all use TMO within their domestic rugby, but we Sri Lankans who are going nowhere with our fifteens rugby waste so much of money to get TMOs. Why can’t they use all that money to develop our rugby? It’s very hard to understand what they are trying to do,” added Fernando. (By Harsha Amarasinghe)