Do rugby rules need to be reviewed?
Saturday's controversial All Black rugby win, which has been overshadowed by discussions over poor officiating, highlights the folly in the rules, a University of Canterbury lecturer says.
Dr Seamus Hogan said the rules, not French referee Romain Poite, were to blame for the most of the match being a 15 v 14 contest.
South African player Bismarck du Plessis was yellow carded by Poite for what the referee thought was a no-arm tackle and one he said at the time was high.
Neither were true and du Plessis was yellow carded.
The South African hooker, who came back on and scored a try in his side's 29-15 loss, was then correctly shown a second yellow for pushing his elbow into Liam Messam's throat and, as is in the rules, sent off for his second cardable offence.
''The problem was that the rules say a second yellow card automatically leads to a red, and so the original error was compounded and South Africa had to play most of the second half one man short, to the detriment of the game,'' Hogan said.
The university economics and finance lecturer strongly felt the rules must change.
''Most of the discussion has focused on the error by referee Romain Poite in carding Du Plessis for what was a perfectly legal tackle. This misses the point. Yes, Poite made an error, but errors are inevitable.
''Rugby is played at a furious pace. Split second judgements are required from both players and referees and all of them are going to make mistakes. The rules need to be written with a view that this is going to happen. The two-yellow-equals-a-red rule is simply too draconian to a world where errors of judgement can happen.
''Partly we want to punish individual players for behaving in a reckless way causing unnecessary endangerment to other players. Partly, we want to punish teams for illegal actions of individuals that give their team an advantage.
"For the latter, it is appropriate that the punishment lead to an advantage for the other team in the course of the game being played. For the former, the punishment can occur after the game in the form of suspensions or fines.''
Hogan said if foul play merited a sending off, he felt the player should be able to be replaced and the officials should ''take appropriate action at the post-match judiciary''.
''If the problem is professional fouls, change the incentives so that conceding a penalty does not give the infringing team an advantage in terms of possession and field possession, and instruct referees to be more liberal in awarding penalty tries,'' he said.
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