Saturday, March 03, 2012

A look at the first ever White Card in Super Rugby

There's been a fair bit of confusion since the introduction of the new White Card in Super Rugby. Last weekend we saw one issued for a tip-tackle, so here's a quick look at that, as well as an explanation of how the process works.

The new white card system is being trialled in this year's tournament in an effort to streamline and simplify the citing procedure. There are no changes to the issuing of the standard yellow and red cards, but the white card can now be used to indicate that further inspection may be required.

So if a referee suspects foul play, or sees something but isn't quite sure on how to judge it in the heat of the moment, he can pass it on to the citing commisioner, who will then deal with it later on. This was the case with Cheetahs center Andries Pretorious last weekend, who made a dangerous tackle on Wickus Van Heerden of the Lions.

A yellow card was given, and whether or not it should have been a straight red card was to be determined with the showing of the white card. Strauss accepted a guilty plea within the stipulated four-hour time period, thus guaranteeing him a lesser sentence than if it went to a full judiciary.

He was given a two week suspension after the tackle was deemed not intentional. Other issues were also taken into account and the decision was reduced or 'discounted' by two weeks for remorse, an early plea, and an admission of guilt. He also apologised personally to Van Heerden, who had 'residual neurological symptoms assumed to be from bruising.'

There are also other new elements in the citing procedure, such as an Off-Field Yellow Card. Two of these were actually issued this weekend, with Tristan Moran and Jason Eaton, both of the Hurricanes, being given off-field yellow cards after review of two seperate incidents. One was for a shoulder charge, and the other for stamping.

An off-field yellow card can be issued when the Citing Commisioner sees an act of foul play that is considered close to, but not quite, a red card. These have no immediate affect, but get logged on the player's disciplinary record, much in the same way as an on-field yellow card would.

What do you think of the new concept, and do you think the IRB should take it on board in future?

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:41 pm | View Comments (30)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 30 comments

Eggman March 03, 2012 10:22 pm

There was also a white card given in the Warathas v Reds game after Carter complained about being eye gouged.

I must say Im not sure how useful it really is. Most offenses (especially tip tackles) are picked up by the citing commission anyway so I dont see what the white card will do to add to that, except maybe make it a bit easier for them. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it's used throughout the season..

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WelshOsprey March 03, 2012 10:52 pm

Pointless idea
Rugby is getting pathetic

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Lise March 03, 2012 11:17 pm

it will be worse than soccer with all those feckin cards imo :/

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alasdairduncan3 March 04, 2012 12:19 am

Surely this is completely irrelevant...
If the tackle is dangerous and needs to be judged by the citing commisioner, it could be decided by anyone watching the match.

This could work if it was sent to the TMO, who could decide red or yellow on the spot, but as it stands the white card seems to be of absolutely no benefit. I still don't think it would affect a game too much if the TMO could be used to judge dangerous play as well as tries, yellow and red cards usually have more affect on games a try anyway.

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JohnnyNuck March 04, 2012 12:25 am

I like that idea better than the white card. The white card seems pointless. They have the technology (TMO) just use him

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Juggernauter March 04, 2012 12:38 am

Maybe it would be a better idea to use the white card to tell the TMO to look at the incident immediately after it happened, award a penalty and keep on playing. Then at the next stop of the game the ref can ask the TMO whether it was dangerous or not and issue the right card -or lack of it- to the offender. That way we don't lose a big amount of time -except, of course, if the palyer is injured- and takes a lot of pressure off the ref's shoulder,s but it also does take some authority from himself too.

It makes more sense, in my opinion, that just "bookmarking" the offence so I can be reviewed later... which is exactly what happens now.


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number8888 March 14, 2012 8:08 pm

agree with that completely! It's a rugby match not a court case...

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Stubby March 04, 2012 1:03 am

the ref is in communication with the TMO anyway so why need a white card?
The TMO should be 3 people. 1 primary and 2 secondary. The primary continues in the same way as before looking at tries etc. The secondaries only come into it when someone complains on the field about gouging or whatever. The 3 people have a look and vote on the spot.

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KVT March 04, 2012 1:18 am

If that was a dangerous tackle than rugby is becoming a Pussy Game for real!

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themull March 04, 2012 1:26 am

Seems to me they implemented this to make it seem that they're actually trying to fix the mess which referreing tackling in Union has become, without actually doing anything..This white card is BS..Anything of note will be noted by the citing commissioner during the game while he is watching it live and seeing replays..Anything which may go unnoticed by both TV officials and the citing officer can be reported by the individual teams and the citing officer can then have a closer look at the incident...

This white card is going to have no effect on the game what so ever from what I can tell..They'd be better off just making the law perfectly clear regarding the BS tackles which are getting called up for penalties rather than wasting time with this sham...

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i love bacon March 04, 2012 4:09 am

No worries.

This idea will be abandoned before the end of the season. I guess the premise is simply to save citing officers time (?), but either way, it's redundant and will hopefully go away.

That, or we just pick up even more cards. Let's have a full dozen, each one for different intricacies of the game.

*A try will no longer be awarded by a whistle and a gesture, but by the display of a black card.
*If a player makes a particularly good touch finder of a kick, the ref will hold up a brown card.
*If prop runs more than 5 meters with the ball, he'll see a blue card; if he manages to offload on top of that, it'll be purple.
*If the crowd is being gratuitously raucous, then maybe an orange card.
*A rainbow card every time the scrumhalf throws his arms out wide and shouts at the referee.

Etc. etc. ad nauseum.

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Guy March 04, 2012 11:05 am

Classic! The match will turn into a 4.5 hour borefest...but justice has been done to everyone involved ;-)

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alasdairduncan3 March 07, 2012 9:01 am

Brilliant! Sounds like American Football :)

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flyingpepper March 04, 2012 8:29 am

Would make sense if the review happened during the ten minute under a yellow, ten it affects the actual game if it gets turned into a red. but then it would also just be more complex, the ref should just make the call

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Guy March 04, 2012 11:01 am

I think the white card might lead to referees not taking their responsibility in assessing the situation correctly. 'Let's just give yellow and white and let the citing commitee deal with it....'

On the other hand: it might have worked in case of the Rougerie-McCaw eye-gouge incident. The commisioner might have had an indication of where to look and what look look for before the citing window closed. But honestly: how often has that happened in say the last five years.

The off-the-field-yellow is a very good idea, in my opinion. It gives a better view of the players overall conduct. A bit like the mobster in a court session: he has never been convicted. Sure, but he should have been on trial for 20 different issues allready but stayed out of jail for various reasons...

Last thing: sad to see the guy being stretchered off. It is a proof of the danger of these kind of tackles. The tackler might be 'such a nice bloke'. But in the tackle he keeps pulling up the leg as high as possible. Maybe not with the intention to injure the player, but certainly reckless.

Everything in my humble opinion off course.

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pwyll March 04, 2012 1:14 pm

Ayellow card should be issued plus a white card so the tmo can review it immediately and have the right to change the yellow to red .Thus preventing the offender from returning to the field of play

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BuzzKillington March 04, 2012 3:12 pm

Did the commentator say "That's a red card"... Is he on drugs?

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Pretzel March 04, 2012 9:18 pm

I agree with the general consensus on this one. Seems like if the citing commissioner is going to pick up on something he isn't going to need a white card to pinpoint the incident...

I have said on other videos that surely the citing commissioners job is to punish players who have had ill discipline on the field.
-So for instance a player does something red card worthy, and the referee only gives him a yellow card, then the CC (citing com....) will step in an perhaps ban him for a game etc.
-If a player does something particularly bad and requires banning then the CC will again step in and ban the player.

So it is effectively there to punish people who have not be punished properly on the field (yellow when it should be red) or to extend punishment on players which have done something particularly bad (week bans). And of course to pick up on missed incidents..

So therefore would it not be more wise to provide the referees with the ability to use the TMO in order to punish a player correctly in the first instance?

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Pretzel March 05, 2012 3:30 am

Oh no, I better amend this one.

The CC will only pick OUT the faults, he will not actually supply the player with a ban. I am sure we all gathered what I was saying, but as shown in recent history, RD has no room for those that do not quote things 100% correctly and succinct!

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Pretzel March 05, 2012 3:32 am

p.s I should have added a note beneath, if there are any points which I have made which perhaps are not 100% clear then do not hesitate to click on the reply button and ask me to specifically explain a certain point.

Thank you everyone.


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downwithdropgoals March 05, 2012 1:29 am

these would be useful if the TMO reviewed whilst play continued and then a player could be shown a yellow/red retrospectively in the match without the problem of slowing the game down.

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Kettlerugby March 05, 2012 2:15 am

Good idea in theory, but may slow the game down a bit with on field officials chatting about decisions constantly...

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ollie March 05, 2012 2:50 pm

i think this goes to show the complete failure of the white card. He lifts the player and drops him so that his head and shoulder hit the ground simultaneously. Highly dangerous tackle and deserves a straight red without question. This happens 11 minutes into the game and the punishment for the team is therefore ten mins a man down rather than 70...

Seems to me that the white card will mean that players are punished rather than teams, so indicates quite a significant change in the game.

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Pretzel March 05, 2012 8:36 pm

"Seems to me that the white card will mean that players are punished rather than teams, so indicates quite a significant change in the game."

Excellent point. We were always taught that as a team game if you get sent off you are not only letting down yourself but also your team. As I said previously I'd rather tools be available to the referee in order to get a decision completely right IN the game rather than waiting until it is all over.

How many games have we seen where afterwards people have been commenting on how the game was ruined because a certain player should have been sent off etc?

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Andyboy March 05, 2012 10:03 pm

The white card is a cop-out. It saves the official suffering the pathetic "he's ruined the game!" jibe that we saw when Warburton was rightly sent off against France.

That tackle was a straight red by any kind of proper interpretation of the laws. The only decision would be whether to cite the player afterwards.

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Pretzel March 05, 2012 11:39 pm

The citing would only come about though if it was felt that additional punishment was needed surely? I mean if a player gets 2 yellows and is sent off lets say for slowing the ball down, then I doubt he would be cited and suspended for a few games (I could be wrong). But if a player gouges etc then the citing would come about regardless of the card colour in order to further punish the player... So that would always be in place whether there was a white card or not. So I totally agree it is a form of taking some heat off the officials... which is wrong..

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Play the game March 07, 2012 5:49 pm

Firstly - White Cards - The citing commissioner will review the offence after most yellow cards anyway so the need to 'flag up' each citable offence seems redundant. However the white card could be made useful if it referred a yellow card offence to the TMO's who could then make the decision to increase it to a Red during the 10min sin bin period.

Secondly - I have to ask if anyone who is calling that tackle a red card offence has actually ever played the game? I mean seriously, there has to come a point where the 'intent' of the tackler plays a part in the punishment. Pretorious had no intention of committing a dangerous tackle, he was just making a hit. Yes he did lift him. No, there was no forward drive to force the ball carriers hips to the ground first, so Yes it is a yellow.

But c'mon, 'Red in every interpretation of the law'. Play the bloody game.

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Pretzel March 08, 2012 1:12 pm

Down to the law unfortunately... Stroudos has often pointed out how other aspects of the game are hugely more dangerous (scrum etc) and have actually lead to serious injuries.

I disagree with "spear tackles" but now it appears the line between dangerous and not dangerous is becoming so fuzzy that even the referees are interpreting things differently.

It's possible someone will come along and read you the law book and explain how hideously wrong you are and this is a red etc etc etc. But we all need to flash back to only 5-6 years ago (maybe less) where tackles similar to this would have been fine... I'm sure I vaguely remember Jonny Wilkinson making similar tackles and people applauding him for it.. (not 100% on that though...)

Actually RD, I know time is not in abundance, but it could be interesting to see a compilation of tackles over time which haven't seen cards and which everyone shouted "wow that was HUGE" compared with the tackles we see more recently where everyone shouts "red card".. (Just a thought..)

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wuz March 19, 2012 3:45 am

Referees should just go to TMO in order to give a red card. That is the issue here anyway. Reds are scary to give. Get a second opinion and then the ref won't be so scared..

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quins1 April 11, 2012 4:15 pm

go cheetas we need a pink card

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