Red-card replacements among law trials for Rainbow Cup
CAPE TOWN – Ever felt that a referee got a call wrong? Or that a red card spoils a rugby game? Well, those are two aspects of the law that captains will be able to challenge in the upcoming Rainbow Cup.
SA Rugby and the PRO Rugby announced on Thursday that three law variations will be trialled in the new tournament, which kicks off at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday, April 23 between the Stormers and Sharks.
Already in use in Super Rugby Aotearoa in New Zealand and Super Rugby AU in Australia, the three trials include a red-card replacement, captain’s challenge and goal-line drop-outs.
The respective governing bodies said that the trials would present “teams with new dynamics that allow for positive play and enhanced decision-making outcomes”.
The red-card replacement will see teams being able to bring on a substitute for a player who has been permanently sent off after 20 minutes. Any players who have substituted for tactical reasons by the coach would be allowed back on to the field to replace a red-carded player.
The captain’s challenge is much more complicated, and could result in great confusion. Each team will get one challenge per match, and can only be used for try-scoring or foul-play incidents… for 75 minutes of the match – because in the last five minutes, oddly enough, any refereeing decision can then be questioned by the captain… if he hasn’t used up his challenge already.
Wait, there’s more! Challenges can only be made within 20 seconds after a referee’s whistle has been blown, and it can only revolve around the last passage of play.
And it doesn’t end there. In the last five-minute period of the match, captain’s can challenge any decision, except for: scrum or lineout penalties; a restart in play, such as a quick tap or throw-in; or ‘non-decisions’, where a referee has not blown the whistle and the play has continued – with foul play the exception to that rule.
And now for the goal-line drop-out… This is another interesting one, as usually teams who are held up over the tryline get a five-metre scrum. Not anymore, though.
Now, when the attacking team are held up over the line or knocks the ball on in the in-goal area, or when the defending team grounds the ball when it was kicked over the try-line, the defending team has to take a drop-out from the try-line and travel at least five metres.
This law variation won’t apply to a missed penalty kick at goal or a missed drop goal, where the defending team will still get a 22m drop-out.
After all of that, good luck to the referees.