England tries out RefCam

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 15:33
Mark-lawrence-head-camera Jonathan-kaplan-headband
It will offer a new perspective for viewers

Spectators will be able to get up really close as England tries out the RefCam in its Championship match between Newcastle Falcons and London Scottish this Sunday, 23 December 2012.

First there were the Veldore (Field Ears) developed in South Africa and then in wide use. In January 2010, during warm-up matches for Super Rugby at Newlands Jonathan Kaplan and Mark Lawrence wore headbands each with a small camera mounted on it facing forward to record what the referee saw and did. It was seen as a possible tool in training referees and for the TV viewer to see the match from the referee’s viewpoint.  Nothing really came of the experiment.

Now there is the RefCam. There will be live footage shown from a camera placed on the jersey of match referee Matt Carley. This will include close-ups of the scrum in particular. It is hoped that the RefCam will also increase the viewing experience for supporters and help them understand the role of the referee.

The RefCam also has educational value for junior referees.

Ed Morrison, the former Test referee who is currently in charge of referee development in England, said: “This is an exciting development and one that we're excited to trial. Not only will it offer a new perspective for viewers but it will also provide us with an additional tool which can be utilised within the on-going development of our referees."   

Gus Williamson, executive producer, Sky Sports Rugby Union, also commented: “At Sky Sports we are always looking to introduce broadcast innovations that add depth to our coverage and this will certainly help viewers understand the decisions that referees make. We are excited about working with the RFU and we are confident that rugby viewers will be fascinated by this new way of watching the game.”