Rugby's Polony?

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 09:28
Large referee yellow card 3 800

Two epidemics are much discussed in the South African media at present - listeriosis with its serious effect on health and sanctionary cards, mostly yellow, with their effect on the health of rugby football.

Last weekend there were cards.

In one Test there were two red cards for the same dangerous tackle. In another there were three yellow cards. That's at Test level where players are expected to know what they are doing. When Wales played Italy, in the much-admired Six Nations championship, there were three yellow cards

In Super Rugby so far this season, there have been a red card and 20 yellow cards. And these are top, professional players.

Alan Zondagh, top player, top coach and top thinker about the game, has ideas on trying to curb player wilfulness and at the same time preserving the integrity of the rugby ideal of 15 vs 15. What follows are his ideas. They are worth thinking about.

LET’S HAVE A RETHINK ON RED AND YELLOW CARDS IN RUGBY

I think it’s time that the law makers at World Rugby seriously looked at the effect of red and yellow cards on our game at present.
The game turned professional in 1996 and a lot of money has been invested in the game since. It cannot be good for the game if players are sent off left, right and centre with mostly yellow cards and some red cards. Playing 15 vs 14 or 13 as we have seen so often, takes away the competition element.

I know players are stepping over the line and not adhering to the laws of the game but there cannot be a good explanation to send a professional player off the field for 10 minutes for not rolling away or going offside and 60,000 spectators in the stadium have to watch a mismatch.

Maybe the following changes could be a solution to the current problem:

1. Red Card – given only for “Foul Play” (this could be defined, i.e. hitting, kicking, etc.)
• Player sent off the field – not allowed back on again
• After 10 minutes he can be replaced by a player off the bench
• Final charges to be decided by tribunal (length of ban)
• The red-card offence (if the player is found guilty) becomes part of the player’s track record

2. Yellow Card – given for “Dangerous Play" (i.e. tackle above the shoulders, tackle without arms) 
• Player sent off the field for 10 minutes and replaced by a player off the bench
• After 10 minutes he can return to the field of play
• The Yellow Card offence is recorded as a first offence. After 2 Yellow Cards the player automatically misses the next game.
• All Yellow Card offences become part of the player’s track record.
• Repeated Yellow Cards could result in longer punishments

3. Yellow Card – given for “Professional Fouls” (can be committed only in the 22 by the defensive side)
• Player sent off the field for 10 minutes and replaced by a player off the bench.
• After 10 minutes he can return to the field of play
• Attacking team can kick a penalty to the posts for 4 points. The kick has to be taken inside the 22-metre area in line with the penalty mark.
• The attacking team can decide to execute any of the other options that are available, i.e. scrum, kick for touch, tap penalty, etc. The 

Yellow-Card offence is recorded as a first offence. After two Yellow Cards the player automatically misses the next game.
• All Yellow Card offences become part of the player’s track record.
• Repeated Yellow Cards could result in longer punishments.

ALAN ZONDAGH