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Red-carded players to be replaced after 20 minutes in Kiwi Super Rugby

The new competition will feature a golden point system and a renewed focus on the breakdown.

SUPER RUGBY AOTEAROA, the domestic rugby competition which will get underway in New Zealand on 13 June, will feature a handful of interesting law trials.

In a tweak that could have a major effect on games, players who are red carded can be replaced after 20 minutes.

The competition will use a ‘golden point’ system to decide games that are tied after the 80 regular minutes of action.

And New Zealand Rugby [NZR] also confirmed that existing breakdown laws will be applied more strictly in order to “create faster attacking ball and a fairer contest.”

sio-tompkinson-receives-s-a-red-card-from-glenn-jackson Red-carded players can be replaced after 20 minutes. Source: Photosport/Bruce Lim/INPHO

Super Rugby Aotearoa will feature New Zealand’s five professional rugby franchises, with the Highlanders facing the Chiefs in the opening game on Saturday 13 June before the Blues take on the Hurricanes the following day. The competition involves two games each weekend over the course of 10 weeks, with the Crusaders also involved.

NZR’s head of professional rugby, Chris Lendrum, said the Kiwi governing body “want this competition to look and feel different” as the new law tweaks were announced.

Red-carded players being replaced 20 minutes after their offence will certainly look very different.

“While players should, and still will be, punished for foul play, red cards can sometimes have too much of an effect on a match,” said Lendrum.

“There are no winners when a player is red carded, but paying rugby fans, players and coaches want to see a fair contest. Replacing a player after 20 minutes strikes the right balance.”

Any players who are shown red cards will still face Sanzaar’s existing judicial process. There is no change to the yellow card sanction.

Meanwhile, the golden point system will be an exciting addition.

If teams have drawn the regular 80 minutes, then the first team to score – by drop goal, penalty kick, or try – during a 10-minute period of extra time will be the winners and earn four competition points.

beauden-barrett Beauden Barrett is set for his Blues debut on the opening weekend against his former Hurricanes team-mates. Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

“Draws can often leave everyone feeling a little empty and after feedback from our coaches and players we have added the golden point rule,” said Lendrum. “We’ve seen the excitement it can generate in other codes and we think adds a real edge.”

Even if a team loses via the new golden point system, they can still earn bonus points for scoring three or more tries than the opposition in either regular time or extra time:

  • 4 competition points to the winning team
  • 1 competition point to the losing team
  • 2 competition points to each team if neither team scores during extra time
  • 1 competition point to any team scoring three tries or more than the opposition

Finally, Super Rugby Aotearoa will see a renewed focus on the existing breakdown laws – something that an expert World Rugby group recommended for the entire game back in April.

NZR outlined the following key focus areas around the breakdown, with the renewed focus on the offside line sure to be popular with supporters:

  • Ball carriers will be allowed only one dynamic movement after being tackled.
  • Crawling, or any secondary movement other than placing or passing, will be penalised.
  • Tacklers will be expected to roll away immediately in the direction of the side-line. This will be a referee’s “number one priority” at the tackle.
  • There will be “extra focus” on the offside line with defenders expected to be “clearly” onside to provide attacking teams more space. 

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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