Should Rugby Embrace Goal Line Technology?

Should Rugby Embrace Goal Line Technology?

Technology is slowly starting to transform a lot of our favourite sports in the world today. For example, football has had a huge shock to the system with the implementation of VAR, or the virtual assistant referee, both in domestic and international tournaments and leagues. This has also been one for the fans who get used to it and who find themselves always hesitating to fully celebrate a goal as there might be a chance that it may be ruled offside. And so today we are going to look at another sport, and that is rugby union.

We are going to put it under the spotlight to see what types of technology are trying to change how the sport is ruled and refereed, and one area in particular is goal line technology. Rugby has for ages been influenced and has influenced technology, with top rugby stars being featured in the latest arrivals in slot gaming. Likewise, there are some big-name games released for the top consoles and also for PC’s that have been played by millions of fans of the sport.

How are they going to introduce it?

Well, the governing bodies of the sport have already last year taken steps towards making the game fairer and assisting with difficult decisions in-game by implementing smart ball technology. This was a joint effort between both World Rugby and Sportable and Gilbert, and it made its debut in the U20 World Rugby Championship that was hosted in June. Although it is stressed that the purpose of its implementation is not solely to help in making decisions but to speed up the process as well rather than slowing down the game, this is a complaint that a lot of fans and teams alike have about the VAR technology that has been implemented in football.

Leading the way

Of course, on the topic of football, it has long been behind rugby when it comes to the implementation of technology to help with the sport. For example, it is only in recent years that VAR has been introduced into football, but rugby has had it in place since as far back as 1996, when the Super League was conceived. Likewise with having cameras placed in the dressing rooms, which at one time was a bit of a taboo subject as it was meant to be a place where the manager could interact with his players and get a bit of a game plan together, how this has changed and now fans can see inside the dressing rooms to see what the chat is and the team preparing to turn the game around.

How does the technology work?

Without going into too much detail about the technology itself so as not to bore you, the smart ball technology is actually inside the ball itself, and as you might expect, it is tracked in real-time and also in 3D. This means that at any given moment, when called upon, it can immediately give you the exact position of the ball on the pitch. And so what was the point in introducing this? Well, there were a few points that we’re going to touch on now, starting with the main one that is under the spotlight today.

Clearing up the debates

There has always been a lot of debate as to whether the ball has crossed over the try line, especially if the cameras sometimes make this a bit ambiguous to ascertain and determine. Whereas this technology is aimed at being able to tell you with absolute precision whether the ball has indeed crossed over the try-line, not only with confidence but also with speed, so as not to slow the game down, to ensure that fair decisions are made, and to assist the referee where these decisions may be difficult to make.

Why is it being trailed in the U20’s tournament?

The purpose of introducing it in the U20 tournament is so that feedback can be received prior to making an informed decision as to whether to introduce it in the men’s game. Although the feedback so far is good, it has been incredibly successful at providing valuable insights to referees who are being assisted by the technology, deflecting focus from them, speeding up the game, preventing it from being stopped for so long, and consistently making it more enjoyable for the fans.

In Summary

Although we are yet to see goal-line technology in the form of smart-ball technology take place in the senior men’s tournaments, we can expect to see this implemented over the coming years because of how well it has gone in the other tournaments it is being trialled in. And if it is implemented in the right way, just like all of the other technology that has helped the sport, we can expect to see it improve the game and make it better for everyone.

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