So another rugby World Cup has passed. It’s been billed by critics and analysts as the greatest rugby World Cup ever and judging by the statistics it has been. The numbers point towards a success for governing body World Rugby, but there have been question marks over some aspects of the tournament and how they have dealt with them.
Craig Joubert’s performance in the Scotland v Australia game drew in critics due to a dodgy sin bin and that last minute penalty. It’s fair to say Joubert didn’t have his finest afternoon and you would expect a governing body to back their officials but in this case they didn’t, instead they drafted a release saying the ref got it wrong. In essence they threw Joubert under the bus and they distanced themselves away from the blame. The incident wasn’t exactly a crisis for World Rugby but they decided to comment anyway.
Complicating matters is the role of the TMO (Televised Match Official). According to the rule book a video replay wasn’t required and shouldn’t have been necessary for that late Australian penalty, although the system, which is meant to make hard decisions easier for the officials, would have cleared up any doubt in this instance. So is there a need for some tinkering with the rules regarding the TMOs?
If World Rugby is to protect its reputation it needs to start backing its decisions – and those of its officials – and assessing the key issues.
Okay rant over! Asides from this the tournament has been a success. Ticket sales reached 2.47 million, the tournament welcomed over 460,000 traveling fans and it generated £250 million in ticket revenues, which delivered £80 million to World Rugby and £15 million to the RFU. The final on Saturday was watched by an estimated 120 million people worldwide and what a final it was. A bit of controversy wasn’t going to keep people away.