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Nigel Owens Slams The Introduction Of A 20-Minute Red Card In Rugby

Nigel Owens Slams The Introduction Of A 20-Minute Red Card In Rugby
By Gary Connaughton

Rugby finds itself in a bit of an awkward phase at the moment.

It was clear that something needed to be done to reduce the risk of serious head injuries in the game, with stamping out high tackles a logical step. However, it seems that the adjustment period to the more stringent laws surrounding such issues has been difficult for many players.

The result has been a massive increase in the amount of red cards seen in the sport, something that has often affected the spectacle in big matches, with some big names also questioning the direction the game is travelling in.

Nigel Owens weighs in on 20-minute red card

As these teething problems continue, the rugby authorities in the southern hemisphere have come up with a rather novel solution.

They have been trialling a 20-minute red card over the last couple of years. It sees any player who is sent off exit the game, but their team will then be allowed to replace them with a substitute after 20 minutes. It is said to achieve a nice balance, as the offending player is punished but his team is not reduced to 14 players for the entire game.

The rule will be in use for this year's Rugby Championship, but not all are in favour of its introduction.

When asked about the law on Twitter, former referee Nigel Owens said he felt that high tackles must be stamped out of the game, something that will be more difficult due to a 20-minute red card. He believes that player welfare must be out ahead of concerns about the spectacle on show.

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Playing 20 minutes without a full compliment of players is certainly a far less extreme punishment, although the merit of the law should be questioned. Surely the team who commits such a flagrant infringement should be punished accordingly?

Perhaps the answer to the issue lies within the use of the red card itself.

Nigel Owens suggests that this is something that should be looked at. He feels that 'accidental' collisions should not be punishable with a red card, an area that the authorities should change before they consider a 20-minute punishment.

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Of course, attempting to judge what was 'accidental' opens up a whole grey area of its own.

It will be interesting to see what changes in the future, but one thing that looks certain is that these types of high tackles will eventually be removed from the game.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Trio Clean Up In Nigel Owens's Summer Test Series Awards

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