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Red card trial to continue in Rugby Championship

Scott Barrett of New Zealand is shown the red card during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Optus Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Perth
Scott Barrett of New Zealand is shown the red card during the 2019 Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Optus Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Perth
Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Southern hemisphere nations have agreed to continue their trial of the 20-minute red card rule in the Rugby Championship with the hope it will be adopted globally in future, governing body Sanzaar said on Thursday.

The rule allows red-carded players to be replaced after 20 minutes by another player rather than condemn teams to playing out matches a man short.

The Rugby Championship, which includes Australia, New Zealand, SA and Argentina, introduced 20-minute red cards in last year's tournament after the rule was trialled in Super Rugby competitions in 2020 and 2021.

“As a group we firmly believe the integrity of international matches is very important and that wherever possible matches must be a contest of fifteen versus fifteen,” Sanzaar CEO Brendan Morris said in a statement.

World Rugby's crackdown on high contact to reduce concussion has led to soaring red card rates in recent years, leaving matches lopsided and drawing criticism from fans, players and coaches.

However, the governing body has resisted introducing 20-minute red cards in global competition despite the southern hemisphere push.

The recent July internationals between northern and southern hemisphere teams were played without the 20-minute rule.

New Zealand fans and media pundits were incensed by a red card given to home prop Angus Ta'avao for a high tackle in the second Test against Ireland in Dunedin which left the All Blacks a man short for more than half the match.

New Zealand lost the match 23-12 and the series 2-1 after another defeat in Wellington a week later.

Sanzaar said it “stands alongside” World Rugby's work on managing foul play and player welfare, and would conduct a “formal research project” into the affect of the red card rule during the Rugby Championship.

“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 in the future,” it said. — Reuters

 

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