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Why have yellow and red cards in rugby union if you can’t defend?

Roar Rookie
2nd April, 2022
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Roar Rookie
2nd April, 2022
1919 Reads

I was enthralled in the Brumbies versus Reds Super Rugby match and was getting more confused with the current rules of head contact and the use of yellow and red cards. 

My issue is not with head contact. As medical science has established, it needs to be stamped out.

However, the issue at hand is about deliberate intent.

Rob Valetini was yellow carded as a result of moving no more than two metres to try to stop a player from executing an attacking move that would have, and should have, resulted in points had he not acted.

The facts as presented by the referees were thus: there is clearly head contact, there are no mitigating circumstances, and a yellow will suffice. 

Here is the issue. Anyone watching this realised a six-foot-two person attempted to tackle a five-foot-nine person.

The tackler clearly ricocheted off the ball before making contact.

Rob Valetini of the Brumbies

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


I understand World Rugby are under immense pressure from a class action, which may have been justified in the past.

This has now turned into something different. Therefore, I ask World Rugby for an alternative.

Last week Justin Harrison, a former Wallaby, put forward a very measured case against tackling lower in light of the Tom Banks incident.

These points are valid and we’re faced with robust conversations from the rest of the Stan Sport team. It was educated and well thought out.

So if that is the case – go lower – what do you do within two metres of a ruck or maul?

Rugby union is a game for all sizes, so if a two-metre player is encountering a 1.6-metre player, please give an alternative.

If World Rugby is serious, stop saying what you can’t do and tell the public what you can do.


I’m personally unsure what Rob Valetini could have done. I’m also certain the referees had no option based on the rules.

So, World Rugby and every other contact sport in the world, how about rules about what you can do in those situations to clear it up.

I’m pretty sure you won’t, because you don’t know either.