After what happened in the All Blacks v England test last weekend, another vital piece of graphic information needs to be added to the TV coverage of top-level rugby – crossfield lines that can be added to the screen to display what is and isn't offside, and what is and isn't a forward pass.

Replays suggest Courtney Lawes was marginally offside before he approached TJ Perenara to charge down the kick which led to what looked like Sam Underhill's match-winning try.

But in an era which allows us to see which boat is leading an America's Cup race at any time, decide pretty quickly whether a batsman is LBW and follow the path of a golf ball as it's smacked 300 metres, why can't we have technology and graphics to tell us if a rugby player is offside?

Such a graphic illustration last Sunday morning would have told us really quickly whether Lawes was in a legal position or not.

French referee Jerome Garces and his TMO Marius Jonker made a call which looked as if it was probably correct, but there's more than a few English fans and writers who are far from convinced. The development of appropriate technology can remove all doubt.


It's the same with forward passes. Because of the speed of modern players and the way the ball is passed these days, there are a lot of what may be kindly called "line balls" being allowed. The laws are quite specific. If a player catches a pass in front of a crossfield line drawn through the spot from where it was passed, then it's a forward pass.

Some satellite-accurate graphic illustrations of those crossfield lines would illuminate how many passes are caught in front of where they're passed from.

The technology will take a bit of time to develop. Players will need to have GPS transmitters in their boots. Rugby balls will have trackers too. None of that is impossible.

But after the technological developments in TV production during the last few years of virtually every other sport, this surely has to be the next step for rugby.

So to my friend Ian Taylor from Animation Research, is this your next project?

It'll certainly stop a lot of arguments. And the whinging from the English rugby writers.

Rugby is one of the codes that will see some changes at next year's Anchor AIMS Games. Photo / File
Rugby is one of the codes that will see some changes at next year's Anchor AIMS Games. Photo / File

One of the many reasons for the extraordinary success for the AIMS Games is the ability of the organisers to keep offering sports which are relevant to 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds.

The sustainability of Tauranga's biggest annual sports event was confirmed again a few days ago with the inclusion of two new sports, two more versions of existing games and another event at the canoeing.

There will come a time when the number of athletes and sports may have to be capped because, at close to 11,000 competitors and 25 sports, it's already a multisports festival of Olympic-sized proportions.


But what I like best about the latest announcements is the way that the AIMS Games are striving to be more and more inclusive. If you go to a smallish school in a country town and you don't have enough players for a basketball or hockey team, you can enter a three-player basketball team or a six-strong hockey team with both boys and girls.

Introducing kī-o-rahi is a fantastic idea. It'll also be a great way of spreading the word about this traditional Māori game where a small flax-covered non-bouncing ball is passed around between teams of seven players on a circular field. Although it's a nod to the number of kura which are now competing at AIMS, don't be surprised if mainstream schools take it up as well.

AIMS is something Tauranga is justifiably proud of. Vicki Semple and her team are constantly looking at ways to expand and improve. They've improved the tournament again with their latest announcements, but just how many more competitors - and supporters - can the region cope with?