World Rugby rejected 20-minute red cards for the Rugby World Cup to ‘safeguard the players’

 Credit: Alamy

Credit: Alamy

Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has revealed why World Rugby decided not to implement the 20-minute red card which is so popular in the southern hemisphere.

Under the law, which has been used in Super Rugby Pacific, teams are able to replace someone that has been sent off after 20 minutes, thus bringing them back up to 15 players.

Its supporters, who mainly reside down under, believe it improves the spectacle and stops accidental head collisions from ‘ruining the games’.

However, its detractors insist that it undermines rugby’s battle to reduce the amount of concussions in the sport by lessening the punishment for a dangerous tackle.

Debated at length

“We look at every decision that we make. It has been debated at length, it has been debated north and south of the equator. With the way we are at the moment, although accidents happen on the field – they’re not intentional – we have to safeguard our players,” Beaumont told The Breakdown.

What World Rugby are potentially going to introduce at the Rugby World Cup is a ‘Bunker’ system trialled at the recent World Rugby U20 Championship.

That is when an incident which definitely meets the yellow card threshold but is not considered a red after two video replays is sent to the Foul Play Review Officer (FPRO) situated in the Bunker.

The player leaves the field for his 10-minute sin-bin whereby the FPRO reviews the incident while play is ongoing.

They will then communicate their decision to the in-play officiating team, who then tell the captain and the offending individual the outcome.

It is designed to both speed up play and also take the pressure away from the match officials, and will be used in the upcoming World Cup warm-ups.

A difficult job

“They’ve (the officials) been working diligently with Joel Jutge, who’s the head of the referees. Referees are like players, they make mistakes, and I think the way they are scrutinised makes it very, very difficult sometimes for them,” Beaumont said.

“What we’re aiming for is consistency, that’s all you can ask for. I do think the Bunker which red and yellow cards will be referred to will help the referee.

“You can imagine the pressure a referee is under. You’re in a big stadium, you’ve got 80,000 people there and you’re having to make a split-second decision on whether it’s a yellow or a red.

“That’s now been taken out of their hands. Around those decisions, there will be consistency there. That’s what we’re hoping and that’s what we’re looking for, and I think as a player that’s all you can ask.

“Going to this bunker, it does give the opportunity of this third party looking at whether it merits a red or a yellow card.”

READ MORE: World Rugby insist they will protect tier two sides in latest Six Nations/SANZAAR venture

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