14 v 15 spoils the game
By Roger Childs
Rugby fans and especially Welsh ones, will recall the semi final in the 2011 World Cup when a red card ruined their night. Early in the first half Sam Warburton foolishly upended a French forward and spent the rest of the match in the naughty boys chair.
Wales dug deep and France had to work hard to eventually win and gain the coveted place in the final where they very nearly upset the All Blacks.
It’s hard to overcome the disadvantage of being one player down and Sonny Bill Williams gifted the second test to the Lions last year with a stupid stiff arm tackle in the first half.
Another second test in Wellington, against the French this year saw the visitors’ full back red carded after a contest in the air resulted in Beauden Barrett landing on his neck.
Something rugby devotees of whatever stripe would agree on, is that red cards ruin rugby contests. Even though teams rally round when a player goes off, inevitably it is going to be very hard to win the match with that disadvantage.
A sensible suggestion has been made recently related to red card policy. If implemented, it would ensure that the referee waving the dreaded red wouldn’t spoil the contest.
For a red card offence, the player is out for the rest of the game but can be replaced after 10 minutes. As is the current practice, the guilty player would still appear before the judiciary.
It would be great if this policy could be approved before the World Cup in Japan in 2019. Spectators like to see their team win, but prefer a fair contest of 15 v 15 for most of the match.