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Summer Nations Series to trial major new card system

By Ian Cameron
Referee Damon Murphy (centre) with Karl Dickson and Chris Busby in Rome (Photo by Timothy Rogers/Getty Images)

The Six Nations-owned Summer Nations Series have confirmed that the tournament will feature a number of exciting innovations, including the use of the ‘TMO bunker’ process.


The tournament is set to commence on July 29th and run for five weekends.

One of the key innovations is the implementation of the ‘Bunker’ review process and Hawk-Eye technology across the series. These additions are aimed – according to a statement released this lunchtime – at supporting referees and match officials in their decision-making processes while also promoting faster gameplay.

The introduction of the Bunker trial aligns with the sport’s ambition to explore its future application and provide extra support to match officials. During the trial, referees will retain their role as the primary decision-makers, but they will have the option to refer any unclear foul play incidents to a dedicated ‘Foul Play Review Officer’ (FPRO) located within the Bunker.

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If a red card decision is not evident after two video replays, the FPRO will have up to 8 minutes to review the incident using all available technology and footage to make a determination.

RugbyPass understands that the bunker approach is also set to be used at the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.

Additionally, Hawk-Eye technology will serve as the independent video replay operator, offering support to referees and enhancing the accuracy of decision-making during matches.

For fans attending the games in the stadiums or watching from home, the shot clock, ref cam, and smart ball match data, presented by Sage, will enhance their match-day experience.


The shot clock, which successfully featured during this year’s Six Nations, will provide players with 90 seconds to take a conversion and 60 seconds for a penalty kick, with the countdown displayed on screens in the stadiums and broadcast coverage. This innovation aims to provide players with accurate information while adding to the excitement for the fans throughout the games.

The reintroduction of ref cam is another fan-focused decision. By utilizing the latest technology and equipment, ref cam will offer broadcasters access to new angles and perspectives from live games, bringing fans even closer to the action.


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Tris 360 days ago

Not a huge Fan of the Bunker. From a players perspective it just adds uncertainty and its hard enough to find 3 good officials and one TMO. Another one is probably weakening the pool.

It certainty didnt work in Super Rugby with ALB getting cited afterwards.

Smart ball will add more for a nerd like me.

Jmann 360 days ago

It is a start. 20min RCs or an Orange card for accidental head clashes would go a long way to not destroying the game the way the indiscriminate RC system presently is.

JD Kiwi 360 days ago

Sounds like some good initiatives. It would be great if Hawkeye is used for offsides, that could help the attacking team.

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Jon 2 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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