The Roar
The Roar


An automatic sin bin is the way to fix the professional foul

Roar Pro
25th August, 2013
1844 Reads

How different would game two of 2013 Bledisloe Cup series have been if the offending All Blacks been sin-binned for their professional fouls early in the game?

It’s high time that rugby referees were instructed to get tougher on the perpetrators.

It’s no small wonder that Ewen McKenzie was frustrated when the Wallabies were denied five pointers because of this.

A yellow card should automatically be issued when a defender denies the attacking team an obvious try scoring opportunity.

If this is anomaly is not sorted, players will continue to infringe, because they know that they can continue to get away with it.

Rugby could take the lead from soccer/football where referees have long been instructed by FIFA to issue automatic red cards when an offence “denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.”

The message has been made abundantly clear to those footballers, because they know how easily they can be sent off when they commit such a foul. Although it has sometimes been controversial, one of the (similarly to union) unsportsmanlike sides of the round ball game has been rectified.

If this happened in Heaven’s Game we would have none of the tedious “soft” warnings from the referees before they finally threaten the offending team with a card. And by the time action is taken to sin bin a player, the course of the match has usually been decided.

The IRB too can fix this by amending Law 10 (Foul Play) with similar effect.


A simple way to change player behaviour may be to issue an automatic yellow card for any penalty infringement within five metres of the defending team’s try line.

This will immediately stop this nonsense, because the defending team will hesitate before committing a professional foul.

The laws should also be revised to clearly instruct referees about the circumstances when a red card and penalty try awards should be awarded.

It’s not to say the Wallabies would have won on Saturday – if this proposal had been enforced – but it could have been a much tighter contest, not to mention have enhanced the game to a more exciting level with more tries being scored.

And of course it cuts both ways, the referee may have had cause to send off Wallabies last Saturday for similar unsportsmanlike transgressions.