rugby.com.au and James Mortimer 21.Feb.2013Getty Images
The innovation – to be unveiled on Saturday night when the Queensland Reds take on the NSW Waratahs in a Super Rugby match at Suncorp Stadium – will incorporate vision captured from a camera worn in a headpiece by referee Chris Pollock into the Fox Sports coverage.
While Pollock will be the guinea pig for the headpiece, it will also be a welcome return to the field for New Zealand's top whistleblower.
Pollock has been out of action for eight months, undergoing a remedial operation on his hip in June 2012.
A length rehab followed, and despite still being injured at the time, Pollock was included in SANZAR's refereeing panel for 2013 Investec Super Rugby.
He got his first taste of action last weekend during a preseason clash between the Highlanders and the Blues.
He will oversee one of Australia's glamour clashes this weekend.
Designed to deliver television viewers a unique perspective from the field of play and bring fans closer to the game, Ref Cam has the backing of ARU and SANZAR.
“We are delighted Fox Sports have been proactive in seeking to expand and deepen the experience for Rugby fans around the country,” said ARU CEO Bill Pulver.
“This is an exciting step forward in terms of general sports coverage and at ARU we’re proud to be supporting Fox Sports on this breakthrough initiative and for Ref Cam to be a first, in Australia, for Rugby.
“To have an unprecedented view from the thick of the action, whether the referee is preparing to bring two massive packs together or he’s just centimetres from the ball as a pass is fired across the backline, will deliver vision sure to enthral those watching on television.
“I want to thank Fox Sports for working closely with us on Ref Cam, and also extend our appreciation to SANZAR for giving the green light for its introduction at the Reds-Waratahs match.”
The Ref Cam coverage will be reviewed by SANZAR post the local derby in Brisbane with a view to considering its broader implementation.
“We are very supportive of the trial of this new technology in the Reds v Waratahs match this weekend,” said SANZAR CEO Greg Peters.
“We are always keen to work with our broadcast partners on initiatives that enhance their coverage of the game and deliver an even better fan experience.”