Debating the 20 min red card: Is it a positive move for the game? - Ruck

Debating the 20 min red card: Is it a positive move for the game?

Over the years rugby laws have changed to keep players safe and ensure the game maintains its spectacle as a sport. 

One proposed law change that has got the world of rugby talking is the introduction of a 20 min red card.

As it’s already being trialled in the southern hemisphere, through our partners at ACME Whistles, we caught up with kiwi international referee, Ben O’Keeffe, to find out how the new law is being received. 

He began by saying: “I think that the red card initiative reflects positively towards how the game has been growing since the first law around red cards was introduced.”

“With such a focus on both player safety and maintaining the integrity of the game, it’s vital for the future of the sport to get that balance right.”

Ben added: “The game is becoming increasingly technical and played by larger, stronger and faster players with collisions being far more dynamic that what they were. 

“Combine that with the enhanced focus around player safety and head contact and I think the change reflects the consequences of a player getting their technique slightly wrong vs deliberately trying to injure someone by punching or kicking a player – which I think is very rare in this professional era.” 

During RUCK’s catch up with Ben O’Keeffe, he went on to discuss the changing focus on the laws, adding: 

“As referees we are being asked to be stronger on tackle technique and I do think that the 20min red card punishes the player and team enough without affecting the spectacle and contest that fans and spectators turn up to watch.”

Time will tell if this rule makes its way to northern hemisphere rugby, however it’s clear that everyone in the sport, from referees to coaches and players, are focussed on creating the best possible platform for a safe, competitive contest. 

Alongside the team at ACME Whistles, we will keep you up to date on this as the debate develops. 


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