RWC 2015: TMO or TM-No?Posted: September 19, 2015
Having to be at work at 4AM, I decided to miss the opening match as (co-)hosts England faced Fiji. I made this choice because I needed sleep and knew it would come harder if I’d watched the match, as joy or frustration would have kept me up.
With MWF and I not getting that much time together due to work and uni I spent this afternoon cwtched up with her watching TV and chilling, which was nice.
As a result of this I missed Ireland thrash Canada and the glamour tie that was Tonga vs Georgia. Returning from a trip to the shop I arrived to catch the dying moments of South Africa vs Japan.
With about two minutes left on the clock I realised I had missed one hell of a match. It stood at 32-29.
This was a turn up as I, like many, had anticipated a fairly easy win for the South Africans. Seeing this wasn’t the case I was amazed that with the clock running down it was a one-score match and the Japanese were on the attack.
I instantly began rooting for the Japanese for two reasons:
1. I love an underdog.
2. I’ve never been overly fond of South Africa, possibly because of Lethal Weapon 2.
My sudden allegiance strengthened as South Africa saw a man sent to the sin bin, Japan’s decision to keep chasing a try rather than secure a draw and kicked for touch. It was a gutsy move, and one I can’t help but admire.
To pursue victory possibly at the cost of a decent draw can be a bit of a gamble. One I’ve seen Wales lose thanks to some lousy refereeing (it still hurts).
I’d probably go for the draw, and it’s probably this deficiency in the drive to win that stopped me becoming a world class athlete. Yeah, probably that.
Anyway, the Japanese powered for the line and a mess of bodies went over the line in a pile. A few Japanese hands shot up but the ref went to TMO.
The TMO is largely a good thing, but there are times it’s pointless. This was pointless. There were so many bodies involved no angle would give a decent view. What was more annoying was that in the days before TMO this would probably have been given.
My issue was that while there was no proof of it being grounded there was no proof that it wasn’t.
Much as I think TMO helps I can’t help feel it’s becoming overused and that it deprives the game of controversy and drama. And that it stops refs from making their own calls. Maybe it should be limited and each team have a set number of challenges.
Me? I’d have given it.
Anyway, Japan got a scrum and continued to push for the line. By this stage I was shouting at the TV and willing the Japanese to break through. Their fans were a portrait of anguish, with mere seconds separating them from a historic victory.
Finally, after a wonderfully worked move they worked it the width of the field from right to left before Karne Hesketh powered over the line.
The scenes that followed were the stuff of sporting dreams with the Japanese players and fans going absolutely mental, and it was easy to see why. This was a massive giant killing and the greatest day in their rugby history.
The conversion was miles off, but expecting the man to be cool under pressure was a bit much and besides the win was already secured.
It was a fantastic finish to a game and I regret missing the rest of it. It was the kind of game a tournament needs, an exciting upset with scenes of jubilation.
A real world cup moment that fans will remember for years to come.
Tomorrow I plan to watch my first full match as Wales take on Uruguay, and a few more in the week.
But I imagine that few will match the drama and feel good factor of Japan snatching victory today.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.