World Rugby has confirmed that the Bunker and shot clock will feature at Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

  • World Rugby aiming to aid the flow of the game with the implementation of key innovations at Rugby World Cup 2023
  • Follows successful trials in Super Rugby Pacific, the World Rugby U20 Championship, The Rugby Championship and Summer Nations Series competitions
  • The ‘Bunker’, shot clock and replacement app are among innovations aimed at advancing officiating, welfare and fan experience
  • World Rugby and unions committed to a game with fewer lengthy stoppages and greater ball in flow

World Rugby has confirmed that Rugby World Cup 2023 in France will feature the Foul Play Review Official (Bunker) and shot clock, aimed at supporting match officials in their decision-making, promoting ball-in-flow and enhancing fan experience.  

Following successful and extensive trials in the Summer Nations Series, World Rugby U20 Championship, The Rugby Championship and Super Rugby Pacific, the international federation’s Executive Board has approved an extension of the trial to feature across all 48 matches in France, operating out of the International Broadcast Centre located in Paris.

Referees will remain the lead decision-maker during matches but will now have the ability to refer any foul play incident where a red card is not clear and obvious following two big screen replays, to the Foul Play Review Official located in the ‘Bunker’ for formal review.

If the officiating team is unable to determine whether an incident warrants a red card, but does meet at least a yellow card threshold, the referee will cross their arms, signaling a formal review and the player will leave the field for 10 minutes as per the current sin-bin laws. The Foul Play Review Official will then have up to eight minutes to review the incident using all footage produced by the independent host broadcaster (World Rugby) and technology, including Hawk-Eye split screen and zoom technology, to determine the outcome.

The Foul Play Review Official will then communicate the decision back to the officials in the stadium. The referee will either uphold the yellow card and enable the player to return or award a red card whereby the player stays off the field and is unable to be replaced. All decisions will be communicated via the big screen in stadia and via broadcast graphics.

Watch the explainer here >>

Rugby World Cup will also feature all 2023 Law Application guidelines, including the visible shot clock. The shot clock shows players the 90 seconds, already set in law, they have to take a conversion and 60 seconds to kick a penalty with the time counting down on screen in-stadia and in-broadcast. The shot clock is aimed at reducing time-wasting, aiding game flow.

Meanwhile, following successful trials, World Rugby will operate a new replacement manager app that replaces the traditional paper and card system used by match officials. This will enable instantaneous and efficient recording of scoring, replacements and other statistics to the tournament’s official feeds, including broadcast. The app is also freely available to all competitions and clubs at all levels via the App Store.

World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies said: “Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle event in men’s test rugby, a global showcase and an inspiration to millions. The advancement of technology is bringing fans closer to the sport than ever before and helping us create a better, safer spectacle. The Foul Play Review Official process, combined with the Law Application Guidelines, will aid the flow of the game, delivering a better experience, while also supporting match officials reach the right outcomes as quickly as possible.

“I would like to thank all our match officials, the teams and everyone involved in the organisation of tournaments and matches for embracing our vision and getting behind the innovations. Having witnessed the amount of hard work and collaboration, we are looking forward to what promises to be a spectacular Rugby World Cup.”

Following the use of the Bunker protocol during the Summer Nations Series, Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby added: “As has been shown in the Summer Nations Series, the support of the Bunker process is aiding match officials in key moments and helping maintain momentum in matches. There is game-wide prioritisation of player welfare and with that comes the need to innovate and embrace new processes, and the Bunker is one example of this.”

SANZAAR Chief Executive Officer Brendan Morris said: “The feedback both, subjectively and objectively, has been positive. We will continue to collaborate with World Rugby on the implementation moving forward and ensuring that the Foul Play Review Process is the best it can be.” – WORLD RUGBY

- Advertisement -