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'Bunker' review system gets green light for World Cup

NEWS: The ‘Bunker’ review system and the shot clock will feature at the upcoming World Cup in France, World Rugby announced Monday.


Both systems, designed to speed up the flow of the game, have been recently trialled in several other competitions, including the Rugby Championship and the ongoing World Cup warm-up matches in Europe.

World Rugby said they would now feature across all 48 matches in France, operating out of the International Broadcast Centre in Paris.

The bunker’s function is to aid a referee, whom officials insist will remain “the lead decision-maker”.

If the officiating team is unable to determine whether a foul play incident warrants a red card, but is worthy of at least a yellow, the referee will signal for a review and the player will leave the field for 10 minutes, as if he had been sin-binned.

The bunker official will then have up to eight minutes to review the incident using all footage produced by the independent host broadcaster (World Rugby) and various other technological aids (including Hawk-Eye split screen and zoom technology), before deciding whether to uphold the yellow card or rule a player should see red and so remain off the field without being replaced.

All decisions will be communicated via the big screen in stadia and via broadcast graphics.


It was under the bunker procedure that England captain Owen Farrell was sent off against Wales in a World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham earlier this month.

Farrell, initially sin-binned, was given a red card on review for a high shoulder-led challenge on Taine Basham during England’s 19-17 win.

But there was uproar across the sport worldwide when a subsequent disciplinary panel downgraded the red card to yellow.

The panel said the bunker had not had the benefit of hearing from Farrell or his lawyer, leaving many to question how the new system could continue to operate effectively if his case set a precedent.


World Rugby has since appealed against the panel’s verdict and a new hearing will take place Tuesday.

The shot clock shows players the 90 seconds, already set in rugby’s rulebook, they have to take a conversion and 60 seconds to kick a penalty with the time counting down on screen.

World Cup will also feature all 2023 Law Application guidelines – CLICK HERE to view them.

World Rugby Director of Rugby Phil Davies said: “The World Cup is the pinnacle event in men’s Test rugby, a global showcase and an inspiration to millions. The advancement of technology is bringing fans closer to the sport than ever before and helping us create a better, safer spectacle. The Foul Play Review Official process, combined with the Law Application Guidelines, will aid the flow of the game, delivering a better experience, while also supporting match officials reach the right outcomes as quickly as possible.

“I would like to thank all our match officials, the teams and everyone involved in the organisation of tournaments and matches for embracing our vision and getting behind the innovations. Having witnessed the amount of hard work and collaboration, we are looking forward to what promises to be a spectacular World Cup.”

Following the use of the Bunker protocol during the Nations Series, Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby added: “As has been shown in the Nations Series, the support of the Bunker process is aiding match officials in key moments and helping maintain momentum in matches. There is game wide prioritisation of player welfare and with that comes the need to innovate and embrace new processes, and the Bunker is one example of this.”

SANZAAR Chief Executive Officer Brendan Morris said: “The feedback both, subjectively and objectively, has been positive. We will continue to collaborate with World Rugby on the implementation moving forward and ensuring that the Foul Play Review Process is the best it can be.”

AFP & @WorldRugby

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