Nigel Owens has his say on Rugby Championship red card trial
By Rugby Onslaught

Nigel Owens has his say on Rugby Championship red card trial

SANZAAR’s decision to continue with the trial of 20 minute red cards for the upcoming Rugby Championship has proven to be controversial to say the very least.

The decision was announced on Thursday having already trialled it in last year’s Championship and the last few seasons of Super Rugby. It does have its advocates, but it has its critics in equally measure, if not more.

SANZAAR boss Brendan Morris explained the decision: “This is a great decision for The Rugby Championship and follows on from its application in Super Rugby.

“As a group we firmly believe the integrity of international matches is very important and that wherever possible matches must be a contest of 15 versus 15.”

One person who is clearly in the ‘against’ camp is Test centurion referee Nigel Owens. The Welshman said he is “not a fan” of the trial on Twitter, which began a lengthy discussion with various fans who questioned his decision.

He wrote: “Not a fan to be honest. It takes away the deterrent of a RC in my view and does not help with getting change in player behaviour when it comes to the issue of reckless/careless tackles that make contact with the head area. This not helpful with the drive for player safety.

“The deterrent to change player behaviour is much more effective if the team is down to 14 men for the rest of the game than if just for 20mins. Drop the speeding fines few quid and 1 point on your licence and you wont be as careful keeping to the speed limit will you….”

Owens did say that red cards should only be for acts of “thuggery, recklessness or downright stupidity or total carelessness,” rather than incidents that are simply rugby accidents.

He said: “What is sensible is that players should NOT be sent off for unavoidable accidental head contact. A RC should be for an act of thuggery, recklessness or down right stupidity or total carelessness which he or she could have avoided serious foul play.

“So I go low to tackle you you around your waist and then you down into me or slip last second and I make contact with your head when there was nothing I can do about it, you are saying a RC? Then it will be impossible to play.

“It’s impossible to have a game of rugby without sometimes contact made to the head when no one is at fault. If it’s complete accident and no one’s at fault it should not be a RC. If it’s reckless, dangerous or down right stupid then yes RC.

“Barrett 1st test & Porter 3rd test should have been RC. Players don’t need to do that type of action in the game. All they had to do was clear out legally and dip to make the tackle he had plenty of time to do so. Thats what needs changing not a 20m RC to paper over the cracks.”