World Rugby announced on Wednesday that a smart ball will be tested at the next Under-20 World Cup to be played this summer in South Africa (June 24 – July 14). The goal is to rely on SmartBall technology and AI to help the referee make decisions on five specific game situations.
The connected ball must thus indicate if a p is forward, if the ball is well flattened in the in-goal, if the ball has been deflected or blocked, the exact place where the ball left the field during a clearance into touch, if the throw into touch is straight. The data collected by the ball will be sent in real time to the video referee, who can then transmit the information to the field referee.
A ball not used for the World Cup in France
This technology should not be used during the World Cup organized in France this fall (September 8 – October 28) since World Rugby will first have to analyze and validate this first South African experience. During the U20 World Cup, another refereeing novelty will be implemented with the concept of “bunker”which must allow the video referee to decide whether or not a yellow card should be transformed into a red card, within 10 minutes of the player’s expulsion.