"Orange Card"

18 July 2023 Rugby Rucker
In an effort to enhance the pace and dynamism of the game, the upcoming 2023 Rugby World Cup will introduce a series of law modifications that have proven successful during the 2023 Super Rugby season.

The primary objective of these changes is to optimize the speed and continuity of play. Notably, time restrictions will be imposed on various actions including goal kicks, set pieces, and rucks. The aim is to ensure a more expeditious and seamless flow to the game.

Another significant alteration will be the implementation of a more streamlined Television Match Official (TMO) process. The revised approach will limit TMO intervention to clear instances of foul play, reducing interruptions and allowing the game to maintain its rhythm.

To maintain a sense of urgency, referees will enforce specific time limits for each action on the field. For instance, conversions will be allotted a maximum of 90 seconds, penalty kicks 60 seconds, scrums and lineouts 30 seconds, and rucks must see the ball being used within 5 seconds.

These innovative adjustments, driven by a focus on the fans, aim to create a Rugby World Cup experience that is faster, more fluid, and exhilarating than ever before. By embracing these fan-centric rule changes, the tournament seeks to captivate and engage viewers while showcasing the sport’s remarkable athleticism and skill on a global stage.

The key changes are summarised in bullet points below:

- The referee will put a stopwatch shot clock on kickers who will have 90 seconds to kick a conversion from the time a try is awarded, and 60 seconds for penalties, from the time the referee signals a shot at goal.

- Match officials will expect lineouts and scrums to be formed within 30 seconds of the respective marks being set, and the ball to be used within 5 seconds of a ruck being formed.

- TMOs only ‘interrupt’ play to investigate serious, clear and obvious incidents of dangerous play missed by the Match Official team.

- Referees can utilise the TMO to make a Yellow Card decision, but any extended TMO video reviews will take place once the player has left the field, not before the Yellow Card is issued. The TMO will have 8 minutes to either uphold a 10-minute Yellow Card decision or upgrade it to a 20-minute Red Card, in which case the player will not return to the field, but can still be replaced. Basically the same as the orange card concept.

- Referees will now also have the power to issue a full Red Card for deliberate foul play, in which case the player will not return to the field and cannot be replaced.