How good are the new rule changes for the new domestic Super Rugby competition looking?
We’ve got three changes, and the best of them has got to be the red card rule.
The change is instead of a red card penalising a team for the rest of the game, a red card now only penalises a team for 20 minutes.
The offending player still can’t come back on the field, but can be replaced by another player after those 20 minutes are up.
How good is that? Because how many games have you watched where red cards handed out willy nilly have ruined the contest?
Think about that All Blacks-France game in 2018 where a French player collided with Beauden Barrett mid-air and got sent off just because Barrett landed funny.
That was it for France. They never stood chance after that. And we were only 12 minutes into the game. The All Blacks smoked them.
The fact is red cards are handed out for stupid offences now which players sometimes can’t avoid, so this 20 minute stand down balances that out.
Second new rule, golden point.
Same as in league, if it’s a draw at full time, the game goes on for 10 minutes and ends as soon as the first team scores a point.
And then there’s the break down rule which is less interesting or important really.
Credit to New Zealand rugby for making these changes.
They’ve taken the crisis that Covid has created and used it to press reset on the game: make the changes that are needed to get the fans coming back.
And this has been deliberate, new CEO Mark Robinson has made that clear.
There’s more to come by the looks of things.
Look for what they do with international games in the short term, especially that includes the pacific.
Look for how they try to fund the game, especially if that includes private money.
Look for how they figure out ways to make more money without playing more rugby, which would over saturate the market.
There’s reason to be optimistic about what these guys are doing for the game.
My hope now is it doesn’t end here, but that it works and World Rugby picks up for the international game.
Especially that red card rule.