Rugby Championship retains trial for 20-minute red cards
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Red cards will result in 20-minute player suspensions in the Rugby Championship this season after organizers of the Southern Hemisphere tournament decided to continue a trial of laws around sanctions for serious foul play.
Red cards usually mean a player is sent from the field and cannot be replaced for the remainder of the match. Under the trial, the player sent off can take no further part in the match but can be replaced after 20 minutes.
SANZAAR, the umbrella group which organizes the Southern Hemisphere tournaments, has run the trial in the Super Rugby competition for provinces for three seasons. It was tried during last year’s Rugby Championship, a competition featuring the national teams from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
So far, World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, has not agreed to a full global trial. Australia and New Zealand each had a player sent off and not replaced in their series against England and Ireland earlier this month.
“This is a great decision for the Rugby Championship and follows on from its application in Super Rugby,” SANZAAR chief executive Brendan Morris said. “As a group we firmly believe the integrity of international matches is very important and that wherever possible matches must be a contest of 15 versus 15.”
Morris said SANZAAR members decided that the 20-minute red card was a significant deterrent to deliberate acts of foul play while not ruining the spectacle of the game. Northern Hemisphere organizers have expressed opposition the change.
“SANZAAR stands alongside World Rugby’s important work on managing foul play and player welfare and will conduct a formal research project,” Morris said. “The aim is to gather the necessary information that allows the 20-minute red card trial to be accepted into the full laws of the game.”
Players who receive yellow cards for foul play must remain off the field for 10 minutes. A second yellow card in the same match automatically becomes a red card for the player. In that case, a replacement player can be sent on after 20 minutes.
More AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports