A golden point tiebreaker and replacing red-carded players are two innovations introduced by NZ Rugby for the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
New Zealand’s domestic Super Rugby competition will introduce a golden point tiebreaker among a handful of key law changes when the sport returns to action next week.
Super Rugby Aotearoa, comprising the five Kiwi Super Rugby franchises, will also be the first professional competition to allow players to be replaced after they’re shown a red card.
Once player is sent from the field, the affected team must wait 20 minutes before fielding a replacement. The red-carded player can’t return and will still face a judicial process.
The golden point system will mirror the NRL’s, to determine a winner if the scores are tied after 80 minutes.
The first team to score – by drop goal, penalty goal, or try – during a 10-minute period of extra time will win the game and remove the prospect of “feeling a little empty” according to New Zealand Rugby head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum.
“We’ve seen the excitement it can generate in other codes and we think adds a real edge.”
The bespoke tournament was created after Super Rugby proper was indefinitely suspended by COVID-19 and opened up the possibility of innovations.
“We want this competition to look and feel different. We’ve had great support from our coaches, players and referees to make Super Rugby Aotearoa faster, safer and more exciting than ever before,” Lendrum said.
He said the red card change was prompted by the impact a sending-off presently has on rugby, creating an imbalance and lack of spectacle, particularly if foul play happens early in a match. There is no change to the yellow card laws.
NZR has also issued a dictum that referees be more strict in policing the breakdown to create faster attacking ball and a better visual product.