A solution to rugby’s red card problem

John Wagner Roar Rookie

By John Wagner, John Wagner is a Roar Rookie New author!


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    A red card has a massive effect on the result of a rugby match – especially if it occurs early in the game.

    In many ways it is unfair to the remaining 14 players, who have not offended, and it destroys the contest for spectators.

    Of course, there is no place for any act of deliberate thuggery, but several red cards have been awarded recently for other, non-violent offences by referees (or interfering TMOs), who often act on the spur of the moment.

    While there can be no perfectly balanced solution, might I suggest the following changes to the red card?

    The offending player is given ten minutes in the sin bin, as for a yellow card. But after the ten minutes, that player does not return to the field, but can be replaced by a reserve from his team.

    This way, the team is restored to the full 15, making the match a contest for both players and spectators alike.

    The sin-binned player could be put on report (as in the NRL), whereby a judiciart take time to view video footage and decide whether or not to throw the book at the offending player.

    Such a judicial panel would be able to take as much time as needed, unlike the on-field referee, and their decision would not be the result of one person’s thinking.

    As for acts of deliberate thuggery, a player would be shown a black card. This would see them sent off for the remainder of the game and not be replaced. Their actions would see them automatically referred to face the judicial panel.

    While the above suggestions do not offer a complete solution, perhaps they are an improvement on the current system?

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • Roar Guru

      July 7th 2018 @ 6:17am
      Harry Jones said | July 7th 2018 @ 6:17am | ! Report

      Yes. I like it.

    • July 7th 2018 @ 7:09am
      Redsfan1 said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      Good idea. Sick of cards becoming just normal in game of rugby. They used to be rare and a talking point. Now it’s as frequent as substitutions and often for such trivial offences.

      There’s a massive tension between rugbys natural physical and over the top TMO/resorting to cards. I haven’t seen any reduction in injuries since all these cards came into fashion but I have seen a reduction in crowd numbers.

    • July 7th 2018 @ 7:19am
      Lafilette said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      If new rules refuse to allow a sub, and it becomes 14 men playing 15, you still have a potential blowout which is not what we want. Thuggery or not, let the sent-off player be replaced. Afterwards, he can be banned for x number of games.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 7th 2018 @ 7:21am
      Sage said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      Not a bad idea. I’d make it 20 minutes for the red though. Black for deliberate acts of thuggery. Interesting colour choice 🙂

    • July 7th 2018 @ 7:46am
      Ash said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      Agreed something need to be done about red cards. There’s nothing worse than someone being sent off 10 minutes into a game and it’s game over. It ruins it for everyone.

      • Roar Guru

        July 7th 2018 @ 1:14pm
        Cadfael said | July 7th 2018 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

        If the culprit warrants a red card why should t not be given in 5th minute or the 77th minute. As for ruining the game, how about blaming the perpetrator and not the ref.

        • July 7th 2018 @ 4:04pm
          Ash said | July 7th 2018 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

          Sure, let it be looked at after the game and be punished accordingly. I really do not want to be 10 minutes into a bledisloe and someone gets red carded on a technicality.

          • July 7th 2018 @ 9:39pm
            Bakkies said | July 7th 2018 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

            Well that’s not working. They won’t ban Sam Cane over shoulder charges to the head.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 7th 2018 @ 11:44pm
            Kirky said | July 7th 2018 @ 11:44pm | ! Report

            Ash!! Exactly, it’s bad enough in most games, but just imagine that any game in the World Cup particularly getting into the last few and the Final perhaps, and a Referee dishes out a Red card, it just does not bear thinking about!

        • Roar Rookie

          July 7th 2018 @ 11:40pm
          Kirky said | July 7th 2018 @ 11:40pm | ! Report

          Cadfael! Some of those Red Cards are just too ridiculous, it tests the imagination and the smug look on the Ref;s face in most occasions, tells it all, “I am holier than thou and I can do this if I like”!~ If it’s a deliberate and filthy act fair enough, but for relatively miniscule offences players are getting Red carded and many occasions it’s just so obviously ridiculous, ~ Referees in the main are very good, but there are a few who if you like, are “drunk with power” no doubt about it!

      • Roar Guru

        July 7th 2018 @ 5:15pm
        Rugby Fan said | July 7th 2018 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

        Doesn’t always go that way. England once saw red against Argentina in the first five minutes but still won.

        NZ very nearly beat the Lions in the second Test, playing a man down for nearly an hour.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 7th 2018 @ 11:47pm
          Kirky said | July 7th 2018 @ 11:47pm | ! Report

          Rugby Fan! They should’ve won that game mate no doubt about it!

    • Roar Pro

      July 7th 2018 @ 7:49am
      ozxile said | July 7th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      At first glance this looks an improvement.
      However, the suits need to sort out the red card issues first.
      When a red card decision takes opinions from 4 refs and a couple mins of reviewing slow motion video there is a lot more to fix than a yellow-red-black card system can handle.
      An afterthought: this would probably just be a license to hand out more red cards and further increase the refs’ potential influence on what is left of the game.