Red Cards and another controversial rugby rule-change
- Credit: Steve Bond/PPAUK
It seems bonkers to see so many game-changing decisions happening in almost every other game at this point in time.
The safety of players is of utmost importance and the new rules are here to reduce the chance of head injury, a critical issue in a physically demanding sport.
Yet, when I put my player’s head on, I would feel helpless if I were the one who inadvertently put my team under pressure because of actions that have been learned and coached for the best part of a decade.
When I cast my mind back to the 2011 world cup semi-final Sam Warburton tackle which resulted in a red card. An action which only months before was a fair tackle. Take a look at that tackle now and its looks red every day of the week.
The emphasis for me now relies on the coaches stressing the new techniques and considerations when approaching the contact area and then for the players, as professionals, to take this on board.
Our very own Jack Yeandle fell foul to the new rules, in what looked a fairly low-level impact to me, yet in the laws of the game is now the maximum sanction. And the Chiefs fought tooth and nail to try and pull out a top effort and get a result against the odds.
I may be wrong, but I am sure I have seen players emphasise or even play act to maybe highlight an infringement…. for me too far along the lines of football, it has no place in our game.
One positive is the number of red cards has fallen in recent weeks in both international and domestic rugby, although the nature of the ‘hard yard’ carries that usually involve trios of forward carriers bulldozing into hard and fast defenders will consistently create head contacts. I don’t think the spate of cards has quite finished yet.
Maybe the emphasis of change in rugby should be on restricting power and size, rather than technique or gameplay, but that comes from a small and slightly less athletic individual that you may usually associate with rugby and a bit of a nostalgic view on the rugby I watched growing up.