NZRFU consider time keeping changes

Officials at the New Zealand Rugby Union are considering adopting an off-field timekeeper for future Test matches to aid the referee.

The move follows the All Blacks loss to Australia in the last second of their Tri-Nations match last Saturday.

Clocks at both the stadium and on television showed more than five minutes past the 40 minute time limit for the second half when Australian captain John Eales slotted home a penalty for the 24-23 victory.

NZRFU referees' manager Keith Lawrence said what still needed to be decided was how many matches might use an independent timer.

"Do we just stop at test matches, do we bring it down into Super 12, do we bring it down into division one, two, three of the NPC (National Provincial Championship)? Those are the questions we need to determine."

Lawrence said the ultimate discretion on timekeeping would remain with the referee and any off-field timekeeper would merely offer advice either through a radio links or a hooter sounding across the ground.

Lawrence said there would be no inquiry into the length of the second half of Saturday's test. The referee, South Africa's Jonathan Kaplan, said he stood by his timekeeping.

Kaplan said he allowed for time wasting by the New Zealand side at line-outs and it was the other clocks that were wrong.

"I felt the New Zealanders were huddling and not getting on with the game," Kaplan told the Evening Post newspaper.

"There were two options, I could have taken a policeman's approach and free kicked them for time wasting or added the time on at the end of the game."