They did issue a statement late on Monday which among other things stated that “just 28 per cent of all stoppage time in the opening match was due to TMO”.
The referee, Jaco Peyper, was only alerted to the fumble by the partisan Twickenham crowd who had seen the replay on the big screen, prompting the South African official to consult the TMO, Shaun Veldsman.
A similar incident occurred 24 hours later at Twickenham when the France wing Noa Nakaitaci dropped the ball with the line beckoning and the try was awarded only for the TMO, again Veldsman, to intervene before the conversion was taken. Many were dismayed even though the TMO was right.
England beat Fiji 35-11 in the World Cup opener on Friday, however, the hosts had their lead reduced to six with as little as 15 minutes remaining, leading England’s interchange fly-half to suggest Australia and Wales may not have it so easy.
“He’s got to say “sorry guys, I made a mistake”. It’s a refereeing error (but) once you give it, you can’t then go back. “It’s important to get decisions right on these big occasions, but let’s work out how we can do that quickly, concisely and correctly”.
“I’m off for a half time wee”, wrote rugby journalist Paul Williams on Twitter.
“We want to keep the ball in play for as long as we can, we want to play rugby, we want to make the decisions and we want to stay infield as much as we can”.
“Especially in the world of rugby, we want the game to keep going”.
England global Owen Farrell said the frequent interruptions could even force teams like England, who favour a fast-paced physical game, to change their tactics.
“They have got some game-breakers in their team and different kind of game-breakers as well”, Farrell said.
The constant stop-start interruptions while referees review TV footage could undermine England’s challenge for the Rugby World Cup, according to first five Owen Farrell.
It said: “The objective of the television match official system is to ensure accurate and consistent decisions are made on the field in a timely and efficient manner”.
“The TMO is a part of the match official team and the fantastic technology available is a tool to be used in the making of key decisions during matches”, he explained.