Discipline is such an important part of rugby and there are pretty poor consequences if you do receive a card from the referee. So what exactly happens when a player gets a red card?
What happens when you get a red card in rugby? When you get a red card, you have to go off the pitch and the team will have to play with one fewer player for the remainder of the game. Depending on the offence, there can also be a ban for future games.
The red card in rugby works pretty much the same as a red card in any other sport. If the referee shows a player the red card, then that player is not allowed to play the rest of the game. That player’s team is also not allowed to bring someone on to replace the player who was sent off.
So if a team has a player who receives a red card, then they must play the rest of the game with 14 players. If another player gets a red card then they must play with 13 players. Even if there are injuries, the player or players who have been red carded cannot be substituted back onto the pitch.
This is not the only thing that happens when a player receives a red card. There is usually some form of future ban from games that comes for the player. Depending on how bad the offence was that got the player the red card, then there is the option to ban the player from playing in future games.
If there is a ban, usually it is not longer than five games in rugby. But it really depends on just how bad the offence was for the red card. One other detail mainly for professional games is that when a player receives a red card, they usually have to go down the tunnel. They don’t usually sit on the bench for the rest of the game.
Do you get a ban for a red card in rugby?
Getting a red card in rugby means the player cannot play any further part in the game, but that is not the only punishment for players who receive a red card.
There is usually a ban given to players who get a red card in rugby. If the offence which led to the red card is bad enough then the player can also receive a ban from future games. But it really depends on how bad the offence was for the red card.
For example, a high tackle that makes contact with the head will usually result in a multiple game ban. But the ban is also dependent on the player taking the blame for the incident, the player’s disciplinary history and whether they are given the option to attend a tackling school which reduces the length of their ban.
Quite often it is simply dangerous play that gets a ban in rugby. There is not always a ban given for red cards due to two yellow cards if the yellows are not for dangerous play. Rugby is trying to become a much safer sport to encourage more young people to get involved, so punishing dangerous play is crucial.
New Rugby union red card rule
In rugby, there are a huge amount of changes coming into the game to try to make the game more exciting and safer at the same time. One of those changes is the new red card rule.
The new red card rule is called the 20-minute red card. The concept is pretty simple and the name should help to explain exactly what the format of the card is. When a player is red carded, they are still not allowed to take any further part in the game. However, there is one difference between this new rule and the old laws.
The difference Is that after 20 minutes has passed, a different player is allowed to come onto the pitch to replace the player that has been red carded. So the team who were originally a player down are back to full strength after 20 minutes, just with a different player on the pitch instead.
The idea behind this rule was to limit the effects of a red card on a team. Red cards are becoming a lot more common in rugby, mainly down to the games focus on trying to become safer. Due to that, the game was looking for a method to reduce the negative effects on a team who have received a red card.
By letting the team bring on a replacement after 20 minutes, the punishment on the team is not as harsh. The role has initially been used in Super Rugby in the previous two seasons for the competition. However, there is not a huge amount of confidence in the rule being used worldwide.
The new red card rule was trialled in Super Rugby with the aim of bringing the rule to the Rugby World Cup in 2023 if it was successful. But World Rugby have decided against introducing the new red card rule at the tournament. So the new red card rule could be peeled back quite soon.
Is a red card in rugby only 20 minutes?
Some people would have seen the 20 minute red card rule in rugby and would be curious about what this rule is and whether it is always the rule.
A red card is only 20 minutes in Super Rugby. The rule is currently being trialled by World Rugby in an effort to try to reduce the impact that a red card has on a game. Despite being used in Super Rugby in their last two seasons, the rule is not in place for the rest of rugby.
In rugby, the red card is for the rest of the game. When a player receives a red card they cannot play a part in the game anymore. The 20 minute red card rule is only in Super Rugby at the time of writing.