Know rules, con­trol ag­gres­sion, cards de­cide win or lose

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

Fiji Sun - - Comment - OSEA BOLA Feed­back: os­eab@fi­jisun.com.fj

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 4536 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.

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.

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