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Saracens winger Chris Ashton brands updated TMO system as 'useless'
Saracens winger Chris Ashton branded the new Television Match Official system as "useless" at the club’s fans forum last week.
TMOs have been given more freedom this season to analyse possible incidents of foul play in the build up to tries but referees have frequently turned to TMO for other incidents as well.
Ashton has been sin-binned twice this season already, with both incidents coming as a result of a review.
“The experiment with TMO is useless,” the England winger said.
“It was meant to be for only when a team scored but the players are going up to the ref and asking him to have a look at it and it’s just being used for everything.
“I’m completely baffled by it to be honest.”
Ashton’s first dismissal came against London Irish when the review showed him to have made an illegal shoulder barge and the winger was shown on replay to have committed a similar offence against Exeter when he was also sent to the sin-bin.
Ashton said: “I think with my examples, they would never have been brought back or even seen had TMO been used how it was supposed to be.
“There are a lot less niggles in the game now and you might think that sort of thing is part of playing rugby and you have to expect it, but it’s just not there anymore.”
Team-mate Alistair Hargreaves agreed with Ashton’s assessment that the enforcement of the review system needs to be improved.
The lock forward singled out Danny Care’s try for Harlequins against Saracens, in which there appeared to have been a knock-on in the build up but no review took place.
“I think the application of it has been poor,” the South African said.
“Against Harlequins, TMO wasn’t used for the one occasion when it should have been and then it does get used when it shouldn’t. So the implementation has been pretty poor.
“In South Africa they have a university competition there and the captain gets three opportunities to question a decision and that works well so maybe that’s a possibility.
“But it can’t take anything away from the momentum of the game. Rugby is a fast-flowing game and we went to see the game moving, not people standing around.”