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Dear IRB – How about some clarity on the ‘Yellow Card Situation’ !

Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :Original Content on 21 Jul 2010 at 19:53
Tagged with : , , ,

Dear IRB – How about some clarity on the ‘Yellow Card Situation’ !

Over the weekend my friends and I from around the rugby watching world have been in differing opinions about the issuing of Yellow Cards. There seems to be a range of opinions on how the current system works. However the one thing we were agreed on was that a clear structure and transparent system needs to be implemented and fast.

This is something that we came up with over a few pints and yes it needs plenty of work, but I think there is a foundation of a system there somewhere.

So here goes:

Let say for argument sake that each team gets 15 penalties. These are divided into three areas, the breakdown, set piece, and general play, with 5 penalties being allowed in each area.

The scoreboard would clearly display this. Along with all the players names much as can be seen on a cricket scoreboard. This keeps everyone, spectators, players and officials all clearly in the picture (transparency).

Add to this an individual player is allowed 4 personal penalties before receiving a Yellow Card and say 6 and it’s Red. This is something basketball implement with real success and it also adds to the spectating spectacle.

So how would the system work. Well when a penalisible offence is committed the referee says for example ‘ breakdown penalty against number 7 black ’. This is then noted by the ‘Fourth or Television Match Official’ and it is then displayed on the scoreboard beside the infringing players name. One penalty is also logged against the infringing teams ‘Total Penalty Count’.

As the game continues if a player receives 4 personal penalties they then receive a Yellow Card and if the teams total hits 15 Penalties the team receives a ‘Team Warning’ and the next player to infringe also receives a Yellow Card. This may lead to more Yellow Cards towards the end of a game, but it would give much the same effect that happens in ice hockey when a ‘Power Play’ is in progress.

Professional fouls and fouls for dangerous or reckless play will still be referred in the current way with immediate Yellow or Red Cards. Such incidents or any other incident that the match officials see should be ‘Placed on Report’ and heard as in the case of the Rugby League in Australia on a Monday night.

Now I do appreciate the fact that this puts added pressure on the officials to get the decisions and the offender’s numbers correct, but I’m sure that is achievable between the referee, his two assistants and the television match official.

I also appreciate the fact that not all games are televised but I’m sure we are fast moving in such a direction. I am also conscience of the fact that people do not want the game slowed down and that television producers want games to fit TV slots. However at the moment we have idiots either side of the game giving expert analysis, and let’s face it, unless it’s a bunch of Aussies suffering from sunstroke it is not very entertaining anyway or insightful. Therefore any over run, timing wise could then just cut into their time. American football manages to stop the clock in order for the referee to communicate what is happening with great success.

Upon the conclusion of the match a ‘Referees Report’ and ‘Report on the Match Officials’ could then be published with a ‘Rating System’. This will give us a clear knowledge of who has performed well and what grades they have attained. This would then be influential on their ‘IRB Referees Ranking’. So when we go into a match everyone knows if they have the number one ranked referee in the world or the number seventeenth.

Now I’m sure there are plenty of numbers and rugby specific analysis to be done. But I am sure we can take a leaf out of other codes such as cricket, rugby league, gridiron, ice hockey and basketball in order for our own game to develop and move forward on the global stage.

I’m sure a plausible system can be worked out, and I know a couple of guys that are available for an IRB round table at anytime.

We hear the lunches are great.

Yours in rugby



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