World Cup officials have been instructed to clamp down on “football-style” diving and appealing for penalties as Rugby Union’s governing body attempts to eradicate it from the game.
Players who are deemed to have dived or feigned an injury at The Rugby World Cup can now be sin-binned while teams who pester referees will be marched 10 metres back.
Citing Commissioners will watch the game from touchlines using Hawk-Eye camera technology and can give warnings for offences that referees may not necessarily see.
World Rugby’s match officials chief John Jeffrey has revealed simulation would be “very heavily” sanctioned.
“Diving would be ungentlemanly conduct. It would be a straight yellow card,” he said.
“There is a culture creeping in – I call it the football culture – of simulation; people appealing to the referee, players – and it has happened a couple of times – diving,” added the former Scotland international.
Last season saw too many examples of unfair play, as Toulouse wing Yoann Huget was given a warning for feigning an injury against Bath. Springbok winger Bryan Habana also had to apologise after attempting to gain a penalty for Toulon against Saracens in the 2014 Heineken Cup final.
Jeffrey added that it was important to protect rugby union’s long lasting ‘values’ for fair play and respect: “We are the showcase of our rugby event, and it’s very, very important that we keep our values there and referees have been asked to sanction very heavily on that.”
The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday when hosts England take on Fiji at Twickenham, which will be the first opportunity to see if the referee’s take any such action.
Other sanctions including an integrity unit that will watch for match-fixing, and a record number of drugs tests, some of which will be stored for reanalysis, have also been put in place ahead of the tournament.