In Rugby red cards are the exact opposite of what a player wants. Not only does it mean that a player can’t play any further part in that game, but it also usually comes with an additional suspension.
How long is a red card suspension in rugby? Rugby Red card bans tend to be between 2 and 12 weeks. The length of a red card suspension depends on what the red card is for, whether there was the mitigation and the player’s previous disciplinary record.
The exact length of a red card suspension varies massively on quite a few different things. In general, we see most red card suspensions be between 2 and 12 weeks. There are quite a few different things that determine how long a red card suspension is. On average what we see is red cards be around 2 to 12 weeks.
The majority of red cards tend to be around 4 weeks but there are a huge number of factors that affect how long a red card suspension is.
What affects the length of a red card suspension in rugby?
There are a number of different things that affect how long a red card suspension will be in rugby.
The incident itself
The main thing that affects how long the suspension lasts for is what the cause of the red card actually was. Two yellow cards for cynical play or repeated offences usually bring the shortest penalties because these are not considered dangerous. What you will see instead is the more dangerous a red card offence, the longer the suspension.
High tackles are very often the cause of red cards and these can carry a high level of danger. The level of danger is about whether the player who receives the red card puts the other player in a lot of danger. This is usually around the amount of force through the head of the other player.
It can also be about whether the incident was malicious or not. Something like a punch or a headbutt will usually bring a longer suspension because it is malicious as you are trying to hurt the opposition player. A red card for something that has nothing to do with rugby will often bring a longer suspension.
Foul play will bring a lot longer of a punishment, with some acts that are highly dangerous clearly not being on purpose. You see things like taking a player out in the air or high tackles tend to be lesser punishments than punches or gouges because they are not on purpose. So the length of a suspension varies massively depending on what the offence was.
Players disciplinary history
The board that decides on the length of a red card suspension will often take into account whether the player has got a good disciplinary record. If it is a player’s first red card or first suspension, they are likely to get a shorter suspension for a good record.
Whereas, players who are repeat offenders will likely be given a larger punishmnt. This is to try and stop them from getting sent off in the future. Red card suspensions are also supposed to be deterrents for getting a red card, so if a player has multiple red cards then it is likely that the suspensions have not worked.
High tackles are a very common cause of red cards. The suspension from these red cards can have their length reduced if players attend tackle school. This is essentially a course given to players who have received a red card to make sure they are reminded of safe tackle technique and try to reduce the likelihood of them committing more high tackles.
The rugby boards will often reduce the length of a red card suspension by one week if the player agrees to go to tackle school. It is part of the process that gets a lot of criticism because professional rugby players should not be needing to be reminded how to tackle. It is often seen as a way that rugby boards can reduce suspensions to get their international players on the field quicker.
Is a red card in rugby an automatic ban?
A red card in rugby will usually be a ban. But that does not mean it is an automatic ban