World Rugby U20 Championship to trial smart ball technology

The tournament will kick-off in June
The tournament will kick-off in June

World Rugby has confirmed that they will be using smart ball to aid the match officials in the upcoming Under-20 World Cup in South Africa.

The technology, developed by Sportable and Gilbert, will help the officials track the exact position of the ball in 3D and in real-time up to 20 times a second. This will help the officials take a quick decision on forward passes, crooked throws at the lineout, tries grounded on the line.

Apart from the smart ball, the tournament will also feature a card review system. World Rugby will also trial the TMO bunker at the World Rugby U20 Championship. This forms part of an ongoing review of emerging technology to aid decision-making and if successful, could be trialled in test rugby prior to Rugby World Cup 2023.

“A fast game is a good game, and it is right that we explore technology that has the potential to help aid the flow of the game, reduce stoppage time and speed up match official decision-making," said World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies.

“Rugby refereeing is perhaps the most difficult officiating job in sport. There are multiple decisions or non-decisions that are made at any given moment and the advancement of broadcast and social media means that such decisions are poured over long after the event.

“The evolution of smart ball technology opens the door to assist match officials in reaching accurate decisions more quickly, removing subjectivity and reducing the chance of error. While this is a trial and the technology is new, we are excited about its potential and look forward to seeing it in action at the World Rugby U20 Championship.”


2019 Rugby World Cup Points Table