Martin Devlin: Red cards are ruining rugby

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Nov 2020, 1:00PM

Martin Devlin: Red cards are ruining rugby

Author
Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Fri, 13 Nov 2020, 1:00PM

Red cards are wrecking rugby. Red cards are the thing that will save rugby from itself. Every man and his dog's had a say on this since the double dose in Brisbane, the most important aspect isn't everyone's opinion though it's the fact it's still a topic that provokes so much debate - and so it should. Because it's far from perfect and  anyone who thinks what we saw on the weekend is really the solution has obviously collected one to many coathangers themselves.

The system, the process, the literal letter of the law is all well and good if you're a rugby numpty and you genuinely believe that most casual viewers are also happily acknowledging these measures as being essential for the future  good of the sport. Problem is they aren't. And most certainly did not last Saturday night.

We all know and understand the need to protect the players and make the game safer. But the balance between that and ensuring a meaningful spectacle for the paying audience is way out of whack. Ask anyone who watched and they'll tell you of the collective groan when Ofa was shown  his. Which means right or wrong the game's rulers have to be conscious of that reaction and include it in any and all future discussions around the issue. 

Red cards have to be seen as the ultimate punishment. Malicious intent, foul deeds, persistent infringing, referee abuse, those are and all should be red card offences. Sending off a player for unintentional contact in a game based around high-velocity physical collision defies common sense. And look I don't have the perfect answer to all this - that's World Rugby's job, that's why those administrators are so highly paid. There's plenty of suggestions being offered including an NRL style report system, whatever they do decide surely anything is better than the enforced rigidity of what we saw last Saturday night. The answer lies within the laws somewhere.

What World Rugby needs to do is keep searching for it. Keep tweaking , keep making adjustments, keep searching for a solution and stop smugly presuming they've already found it.