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VIDEO: The stunning red-card stats that influenced World Rugby call

World Rugby has been hesitant to implement the much-vaunted 20-minute red card, with statistics one of the main reasons for their opposition.


Despite a series of problematical law changes being implemented from July 1, to make the game more attractive, the 20-minute red card remains benched.

United Rugby Championship Head of Match Officials Tappe Henning said they have to be aligned to European Professional Club Rugby tournaments (which URC teams play in) and World Rugby events, which their players also partake in.

He also revealed some sensational statistics about the issue of red cards which was handed over to the global governing body.

Henning said that in the three seasons of URC, they have had 450 games, with 50 red cards in those games.

“In only 26 of those games the 20-minute red card could have applied,” he said, adding: “In the other 24 games less than 20 minutes was remaining in the matches.

“We share that data with World Rugby.


“It was a more detailed report – about what time in the game it happened, how many points were scored during those 20 minutes, how many times the team that got the red card still won the game.

“We supplied them with a lot of information.

“In the bigger picture, 5.7 percent of all games in the URC are being impacted by a [potential] 20-minute red card.”

(WATCH as URC Head of Match Officials Tappe Henning reveals some of the statistics that influenced World Rugby’s decision not to allow the 20-minute red card to be implemented….)

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The URC match official boss said the perceptions of the impact of red cards on games may be skewed.


In his view, player welfare is more important than the small chance that a red card could impact the outcome of a game.

“If we downgrade the red card to only a 20-minute red card, does that serve our concern about players’ health and safety?” he asked.

He added that it is important that the punishment (red card) for an offence deter players and ensure they respect the opposition and general player welfare.

“There are many opinions about the 20-minute red card and World Rugby has turned it down.

“The decision was based on a lot of research in many professional competitions.”

He admitted the drive for the 20-minute red card is coming from the Southern Hemisphere, but added that the URC will follow World Rugby’s lead – based on their research.

“As match officials, we understand the impact of the red card – be that in the second minute or the 78th minute,” Henning added.

He added that the URC will continue to feed World Rugby with the data and stats, but felt there is a need to define which type of red cards quality for a 20-minute replacement and which should be permanent red cards.


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