Hawk-Eye 'in talks' with rugby union's governing bodies

Saracens Owen Farrell scores a disallowed try in the Premiership Final against Northampton

Technology company Hawk-Eye says it is in talks about providing a replacement to the television match official (TMO) system in rugby.

Hawk-Eye, which operates systems in football and tennis, could be used in domestic rugby and internationally in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Hawk-Eye founder Paul Hawkins said: "We are in conversation with Premiership Rugby and the IRB."

The International Rugby Board would not confirm any talks with Hawk-Eye.

The IRB is conducting a global trial of the TMO system until August and a spokesperson said: "The TMO is under a process of continual evaluation to promote clear, consistent and accurate decision-making while keeping game-time impact minimal."

Hawk-Eye says it can provide information for decisions within a few seconds by synchronising cameras from multiple angles.

Computer tracking would be used to provide information about whether the ball had crossed the line, although it would still be possible to use video replays to judge whether the ball had been grounded.

Alex Waller scores a try during the Premiership Final between Saracens and Northampton Saints at Twickenham Stadium on 31 May
It took four minutes to award Northampton's winning try against Saracens in the Premiership final

Hawkins said: "Our system is a much cleverer way of looking at incidents. In Aussie rules, we have halved the average time for decisions to be made.

"Premiership Rugby and the IRB are aware of our products. We hope of course they will be there for next season and it would be great if we were there for the World Cup."

The discussions come at a key time for rugby after Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths called TMO "a shambles" following the Premiership final, when it took four minutes to award Northampton's winning try. There were also two disallowed tries in the match, including one by Saracens' Owen Farrell which was initially awarded by the referee.

The Hawk-Eye system is likely to be more expensive than the current TMO system, which uses the existing TV feeds.

A Premiership Rugby spokesman said: "We are constantly looking at ways to improve the TMO process to help our match officials and although we have spoken to Hawk-Eye we have no plans to use it at the moment."

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