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The Roar



Give Europeans the southern hemisphere laws

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Roar Rookie
20th April, 2022

As a European, I love watching Super Rugby Pacific.

Not only does it contain the ever-present Aussie, Kiwi and Pacific Island flair and free-flowing style of rugby, I see rules that I wish were in the northern hemisphere game.

Most importantly, the 20-minute red card.

In the English Premiership, we have drama with the ‘comeback Quins’ but regularly (as you would definitely have heard before) games are spoilt by an early red card.

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“The players have been tackling this way their whole lives. This has ruined the game for the team that have been reduced to 14, the fans and most importantly, me.”

This can also be seen in the southern hemisphere but without the incessant tutting and the second line about the ruined game.

This is what I love about the 20-minute red card. No, not that I don’t have to listen to Lawrence Dallaglio’s bad humour but that the game is not tarnished by an early high tackle.

Caleb Clarke of the Blues (R) is sent off with a red card by referee James Doleman during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between the Blues and the Moana Pasifika at Eden Park on April 02, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

This red card could turn away potential fans who are seeing their first rugby game.

The 20-minute red card has been trialled in Super Rugby since COVID struck and the tournament went regional.

I think World Rugby saw it as a risk-free way of trialling a new law when it was Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa. The law continued into Super Rugby Trans-Tasman and now Pacific and I don’t think it has shown any flaws so far.


The 20-minute red card seems just logical in the current moment of time.

When the rules around head contact changed so dramatically and are as unclear as they still are, it looks perfect sense to have a rule that lessens the punishment players receive.

If you look at Europe, a red card that sends the player off for the whole game is extreme to me.

Harry Jones and Brett McKay are joined by NZ writer Jamie Wall to look at the crisis engulfing the All Blacks in the latest Roar Rugby Podcast. Stream it here or in your app of choice


Let the players learn, how many years it takes, and then bring the normal red card ruling back. I would recommend Zakaia Cvitanovich’s article on The Roar in support of the 20-minute red card. 

There are, of course, those who are opposed to the 20-minute red card.

They say the punishment is not strict enough, the players will not learn, and they need to, quickly.

Their view is that the players need to change their tackle height and habits rapidly and to do that, harsh ruling is needed.


It is the only way players will learn.

I disagree. The 20-minute red card still comes with a ban of a certain amount of games and that is how players will learn.

I think you get the best of both worlds. The players change their ways, and the spectacle is not tarnished.

The other rule that was brought in for Super Rugby Pacific was the golden-point law. I do not have as strong as an opinion on this as I have on the 20-minute red card, but I am still definitely an advocate for it.

James O'Connor

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Surely it is a good way of attracting new fans? Also, I see no impact on the game as a whole. 

It is a fun rule to decide draws, which no one wants in our high-scoring sport.

So, listen World Rugby, even though you definitely aren’t, give the European game the rules that work well Down Under.