Premiership Rugby will trial a shot clock for the first time in this weekend’s round of Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches. A countdown of 60 seconds for a penalty kick and 90 seconds for a conversion will be displayed in the stadium with a view to speeding up the game and improving the fan experience.
Announcing the law application in December, World Rugby Director of Rugby, Phil Davies said: “World Rugby, member unions and competitions will work with broadcasters and match hosts to implement on-screen (stadia and broadcast) shot clocks for penalties and conversions to ensure referees, players and fans can view the countdown.”
The guidelines, which are fully supported by Premiership Rugby, are designed to assist match officials, players and coaches and to enhance fan experience in stadia and on television. The shot clock forms part of an initiative by World Rugby to increase the pace of play and reflect key outcomes of the Shape of the Game Conference in November.
The shot clock technology will be tested for the first time in a live match setting with match officials and timekeepers briefed on the introduction ahead of the weekend’s matches. Throughout the trial phase, the existing processes by which referees determine the time permitted for the kicker will remain in place to maintain the sporting integrity of the competition.
Fans in the ground will be able to see the shot clock operating at the end of the electronic advertising hoardings, with some grounds also featuring it on their big screens as well. Upon successful completion of the testing process, the shot clock system will be implemented in full across the 11 Gallagher Premiership clubs and integrated with on-screen graphics systems for broadcasters BT Sport and ITV.
Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby, Phil Winstanley commented: “We are proud to support World Rugby’s shot clock directive as we maintain our commitment to speeding up the game and to continue improving the product for our fans. The operations team at Premiership Rugby have worked tirelessly to bring this project to the live trial stage and we look forward to working with our clubs and broadcasters to make it a long-term success for the league. “