All Blacks great Sir John Kirwan has slammed World Rugby in its handling of red cards, even going as far as saying the infraction should be abolished from the sport.


The topic of red cards has been thrust back into the national consciousness thanks to two sending offs during the Wallabies’ 24-22 win over the All Blacks over the weekend – with All Blacks prop Ofa Tuungafasi and Aussie rookie Lachlan Swinton both getting shown red cards for high tackles.

Speaking on Sky Sport’s The Breakdown, a fired up Kirwan argued that red cards ruin the spectacle of the sport and wants it gone from the game.

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“Our game does not need red cards,” Kirwan said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in our game that goes out intentionally to hurt someone. So if it’s a red card, they go off and someone replaces them for 15 minutes. People have paid good money to watch a game of rugby with 15-a-side. That’s my biggest issue.

“They say the worse thing for rugby is slow motion … what people don’t realise is, once Ofa is committed to that – and actually from a tackle technique looked pretty good – it happened so fast.”

Kirwan said World Rugby are reportedly looking at tweaking the red card rule once again and criticised the governing body for its decision making over the years around the issue.

“World Rugby are always retrospectively [looking at things],” Kirwan said. “Are we always going to look at this stuff post?


“This is what really annoys me about World Rugby. Make some decisions for the entertainment of the game, for the fan, put people on report or replace them.

“Let’s leave the refs alone. If I think a ref hasn’t done well I’ll say so because they’re like players – they’re professionals and they should be open for scrutiny. But it’s not his fault. He is following a protocol. I believe that the protocols are wrong and we need to change them.

“We need a decision from World Rugby, but this century. Not until something else happens. Lives are at stake, people’s salaries [are at stake]. There’s a lot going on now in the professional sport. I think rugby league does a better job at making quick decisions.”

Tuungafasi was handed a three-week ban by the SANZAAR judicial committee on Wednesday, a day after Swinton was suspended for four weeks for his sending off.


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