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Opinion, Opinion

EDITORIAL: Know Rules, Control Aggression, Cards Decide Win Or Lose

September 17
09:11 2017

Cards now decide the outcome of games and its important rugby players know the rules by heart.

At times players make it difficult for themselves by not abiding by the regulations and challenge and or blame the referees.

Yellow and red cards have become part and parcel of modern rugby with players being sent off for 10 minutes or for the rest of the game.

Our players need to understand how costly a one-man disadvantage is.

And the importance of retaining 15 players on the park at all times

It would be fair to assume that the outcome could have been different if two of our Fiji Airways Drua players had not been sent off in the opening match of the Australian National Rugby Championships against Brisbane City in which we lost 45-36 in Ballymore Stadium early this month.

Yesterday the Fijian Drua beat the NSW Country Eagles 31-14 at Lawaqa Park even though Seru Cavuilati and Eroni Sau were yellow carded for high tackle offences in the second spell.

The All Blacks gave the British & Irish Lions breathing space to draw the series after Sonny Bill Williams was red carded for a shoulder high hit in the second test in June. The All Blacks were forced to play with 14 men for almost 60 minutes and it eventually took its toll as the Lions sneaked in a 24-21 win.

 Portia Woodman dropped to her knees and cried because she believed she cost her New Zealand side victory against Australia in the first Olympic gold-medal match in women’s rugby sevens in Rio de Janeiro last year.

Australia won the final 24-17 scoring two tries while Woodman was in the sin-bin at Deodoro Stadium.

Woodman said; “The feeling of letting my team down, that’s what got to me the most.”

It is therefore important that players get updated on the new high tackle laws which are primarily aimed at having the game safer although coaches and former players argue that they have  taken the spectacle out of the game.   

World Rugby’s new directives for punishing high tackles have left it up to coaches and players to figure out for themselves on how to adapt.

The threshold for a high tackle remains the line of the shoulders. But World Rugby has instituted two new categories for a high tackle – ‘reckless’ and ‘accidental’ which makes it more difficult especially for the referees to make the right interpretations before making a decision.

The severity of the punishment for ‘reckless tackles’ carries a minimum sanction of a yellow card and the maximum of a red card with a possible suspension.

The ridiculous phrase of ‘accidental tackle’ has a minimum sanction of a penalty and no maximum.

The game is already creaking under the weight of red and yellow cards and our players need to learn and adapt. The game is going through a difficult transition and teams and coaches need to find a way out.     

It’s even more difficult now to stop a rolling maul or when a prop is diving for the line.

The new laws are forcing players and coaches to make the changes. And if they get it even slightly wrong there will be severe repercussions-for themselves, the team and outcome of the game.

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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"I support it 200 percent, I am with FRU, the country and the people of Fiji. We want to bid to get one of the HSBC stops in Fiji."
Waisale Serevi
Sevens Legend
September 2017
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