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Thread: World Rugby confirm new red card process, things will change forever

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    World Rugby confirm new red card process, things will change forever

    From here

    9 May 2024

    World Rugby has announced further details of a revised red card sanction process trial featuring automatic off-field sanctions for players shown red cards.

    The revised process will operate within a programme of closed trials across World Rugby owned 15s competitions this year. Unions and competition owners may also apply to join the trial. It aims to promote outcome consistency and fan understanding by simplifying a disciplinary environment that can be complex. The results of the trials will be considered by the World Rugby Executive Board and Council in November.

    The closed trial, mandated by the international federation’s Executive Board, follows a strong desire from the Shape of the Game forum, held in February, to review disciplinary processes through the prism of audience engagement, while reducing administrative burden.

    Under the trial, clearly defined automatic bans will be applied for red cards involving foul play, promoting consistency of outcomes that are easier to understand while not compromising on player welfare:

    Foul play – Automatic two weeks: where a player has attempted to affect a legal rugby action and/or has committed a reckless action but has made minor errors such as in technique or timing
    Aggravated foul play – Automatic four weeks: where a player has affected a highly reckless action and/or a non-legal rugby action (tucked arm, no attempt to wrap, driving tackle)
    A Sanction Committee comprising members with rugby experience will calibrate all red card sanctions from a round/weekend of matches. No mitigation will be applied in the automatic sanction scenarios, creating an environment of consistency, while making the process easier for players and fans to understand.

    Based on the application of the new framework to previous cases, it is anticipated that approximately 70 per cent of offences (red cards issued so far in 2024) will be addressed via automatic sanctioning. However, recognising that some cases can be more serious, or complex, an option still exists to convene a committee to determine the final sanction:

    Committee hearing to determine sanction: this will be applied to situations where the facts or intention are not immediately apparent and/or requires determination, where additional information or further evidence is required, where the matter is complex and/or serious, where an act of foul play for which a suspension of four weeks could be deemed too lenient, insufficient or inadequate.
    The closed trials, which will operate at WXV, the Pacific Nations Cup, World Rugby U20 Championship and U20 Trophy this year, will also feature the ability for a red-carded player to be replaced by another player after 20 minutes. Coupled with the automatic sanctions, this enables strong punishment of the individual, not the game, maintaining the contest.

    The 20-minute red card was supported following examination of feedback and data from current trials, which demonstrate that tackle culture is changing in the sport with an overall reduction in red cards, and stabilised concussion rates. There has been a 37 per cent reduction in the number of ‘Tackle School’ applications – those taking up a place in order to reduce a suspension from play following sanction – in 2023-24 versus 2022-23, while less than six per cent of players globally have reoffended.

    Armed with a clear mandate to design a process that will support rugby’s audience growth mission without compromising on player welfare, the trials will be subject to detailed review and assessment through the prism of welfare and game experience. Findings will then be presented to the World Rugby Executive Board and Council for consideration in November.

    Key principles

    The on-field process remains the same: Referees can still give a straight red card and the ‘Bunker’ can be called upon for matters that meet the yellow card threshold, reflecting a commitment to ensuring the right outcome and deterring foul play.
    A red card still means a red card: This means that after 20 minutes, the offending team will be able to replace the red-carded player with one of their available replacements, leading to more jeopardy and a better contest on the day. The punishment is focused on the offending player, not the game.
    Bans will mean what they say: Players sent off for dangerous foul play will be banned for longer via an automatic sanctioning process (no hearing). There will be no mitigation applied without an appeal.
    Welfare remains non-negotiable: While tackle technique has shifted significantly given both welfare and performance dynamics, the off-field sanction process will continue to act as a strong deterrent to players, while education on tackle technique as a performance enabler will be stepped up.
    World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “This streamlined off-field sanction process has been designed by the game for the game and comes directly from clear feedback at the Shape of the Game conference that the current rugby disciplinary process needs streamlining to be simpler for players and fans to understand, while upholding welfare and game integrity imperatives.

    “This is a trial, and it is important to remember that the ability to replace a red-carded player after 20 minutes is coupled with sanctions that are strong, clear and will not be mitigated down. This supports consistency and agility, by making the disciplinary process less influenced by lawyers. We look forward to seeing the results, including feedback from the game.”

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    Great, the 20 minute red just makes sense. I felt like the last RWC was kind of ruined by Cane's red, which seemed borderline.

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    None of it is going to matter a damn unless there is consistency in application. It is going to be as big a bag of the proverbial if one week an accidental head knock is decided to be four weeks, then the next week it is just a yellow card. Especially if it continues to look like the judiciary uses the 'lesser' teams to make their statement penalties.

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    So in our first game this year, Pearce got a yellow, which the TMO upgraded to a red, but the review during the week downgraded back to a yellow. Under the guidelines above, would it still have been a 2 week suspension, as it was foul play (deemed worthy of a yellow card) but the automatic application of a ban with no mitigation to reduce it? Or is it that there's no real difference to the current system?

    Even if it does improve, it's still exposed to the vagaries of the current system where the ref/TMO's application of the laws and sanctions differ significantly; and until that is amended it won't bring the consistency World Rugby want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Great, the 20 minute red just makes sense. I felt like the last RWC was kind of ruined by Cane's red, which seemed borderline.
    I'd still like to see the option of a straight red for serious foul play. You know, the stuff that is deliberate and shows intent to injure like Frank Lomani's elbow to the back of the head.

    I'm perfectly OK with that sort of shite spoiling a game, because those actions (while rare) still need to be removed from the game.

    20 min os good when a bloke has attempted a legal tackle, but has slipped up into a risky position through inattention, poortechnique or just circumstance.

    As for the modification to bans, I think this is a deliberate challenge to SANZAR, who bottled the last attempt to get this over the line by playing funny buggers with the judiciary process in Super Rugby and TRC, letting blokes get off stuff that should have seen long bans using mitigation factors.

    I'm not confident they'll solve that problem. SANZAR seem to think World Rugby have taken the whole head contact thing too far and will look to soften the impact of high tackles through their judiciary process, especially for "good blokes" who "haven't done anything wrong" whose name may or may not be Barrett.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    So in our first game this year, Pearce got a yellow, which the TMO upgraded to a red, but the review during the week downgraded back to a yellow. Under the guidelines above, would it still have been a 2 week suspension, as it was foul play (deemed worthy of a yellow card) but the automatic application of a ban with no mitigation to reduce it? Or is it that there's no real difference to the current system?

    Even if it does improve, it's still exposed to the vagaries of the current system where the ref/TMO's application of the laws and sanctions differ significantly; and until that is amended it won't bring the consistency World Rugby want.
    I think it would be better to apply it to Pearce's 4 weeks for breaking his nose on Jordie Barrett's head, because he couldn't drop fast enough and compare it to Jordie Barrett running 20m and swinging an arm (can't remember who he assaulted) for 2 weeks. Then add in Lomani's 3 weeks for a deliberate elbow to the back of the head and the reserve prop who managed to get 2 weeks for a headbutt that made contact "but not much"

    I'm confident there are other instances of harsh sanctions involving non-Force players being made into a travesty by these convenient sanctions, but the Marley Pearce one is the one I remember.

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    The Marley Pearce example is not a good reference point as it was not his first red therefore the four weeks took into account he had received a red card the year before in a similar fashion in the Junior World Cup.

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    I believe there should be a separation between "Foul Play" (or acts outside the spirit of Rugby, that is deliberate violence etc (Punch, headbutt, swinging arm tackles that are disguised violence...)) and "Dangerous Play" that is well-intentioned acts gone wrong (such as accidental head contact from slipped tackles, head on head from front on tackles).
    I would give the Refs four levels of sanction-

    Foul Play- Automatic Red (20 min replacement)
    Dangerous Play- Yellow on Review (Not forensically reviewed on field, just go and TMO sort it out if to upgrade)
    Careless Play- Yellow (If it's Yellow it's Yellow)
    Deliberate Act- Yellow (deliberate knock on, deliberate take down of maul etc)
    (I guess what I'm trying to articulate is some things are obvious and some things are tricky to decide, if it is worthy of a YC then get them off the field and get on with the match, leaving all the slow motion review to happen while the 10 minutes starts.)

    And then make the majority of current Penalty's (particularly Offside) to be Free Kicks. You can still have a crack at the posts, but would be a tap and pass to drop kick.
    Most importantly though, I would be bringing the Advantage way back. Advantage line or third phase for Scrum in lieu of a restart, 10m or 5th phase for Free Kick and 20m or 5th phase for Penalty. Seeing far too long and too much energy burnt that then comes back for a restart anyway. Particularly irks me when you see a team pound away for 20 phases within 5m of the line and still get the Penalty. If you were too shit to get a try after that long deep in attack then you don't deserve a consolation prize. If the defenders can defend their line for five phases of advantage deep in defence then they should have erased the original infraction (usually just being an Offside anyway)

    I disagree with actions that de-emphasise the role of a dominant pack, though I would look to a far tighter definition of stopping the clock.
    I would look to the clock stopping on the Ref's whistle and restarting on the "Set" call. As per the Shot Clock, I would have a "Scrum Clock" of 60 seconds for the "Set" to occur in, otherwise Free Kick to team adjudged not wasting time getting ready for the call, wit no Scrum allowed from that Free Kick.

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