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.