Monday, February 06, 2012

Players suspected of serious foul play to be referred to a citing commissioner

PLAYERS suspected of serious foul play will be shown a white card by referees this season, signalling an instant referral to a citing commissioner under new changes to the Super Rugby judicial system. 
The white card will be produced to prevent incidents like French centre Auerelien Rougerie's eye-gouge of Richie McCaw in the World Cup final going unpunished.

If the referee does not see but suspects a serious foul possibly worthy of a red card, or if he is alerted to one by a player, he will brandish the new white card and a citing commissioner will review footage and frame a suspension if necessary.But SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters says the new NRL-style referral system will not allow referees to avoid sending off players in high-pressure games.

"With the protocols around the new rules we have issued, it makes it very clear to the referees that they are not to abdicate their responsibilities," Peters told the Daily Telegraph.

"We have been quite clear on that. We want them to act as they have before.
"It gives them another opportunity if they are not sure or 100 per cent certain.
"Most importantly I believe, this indicates to fans that incidents will be looked at."

Rougerie avoided punishment for gouging the All Blacks captain because no footage of the incident was available until after the IRB's 48-hour citing period had lapsed.

McCaw did not personally complain to referee Craig Joubert but his teammates had accused the Frenchman loudly enough after the incident.

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