Red card replacements allowed in NZ Super Rugby tournament

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Players sent off by referees can be replaced and golden-point extra time will be played when professional rugby resumes in New Zealand next week with the Aotearoa Super Rugby competition.

New Zealand Rugby on Wednesday confirmed rule changes which will be used in the tournament which begins June 13, involving the country's five Super Rugby teams.

A player who receives a red card can be replaced 20 minutes after leaving the field and, in matches which are tied at the end of regulation, a 10-minute period of tiebreaker extra time will be played with the team scoring first winning. The golden point system is already used in Australia’s National Rugby League.

“We want this competition to look and feel different,” Chris Lendrum, NZR’s head of professional rugby, said. “Draws can often leave everyone feeling a little empty and after feedback from our coaches and players we have added the golden point rule.

“We’ve seen the excitement it can generate ... and we think adds a real edge.”

Meanwhile, NZR chief executive Mark Robinson is increasingly optimistic the All Blacks will play test matches before the end of the year.

Robinson told Radio New Zealand the country's success in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic — no new cases have been reported for 11 days — had allowed professional and community rugby to return and there is a possibility fans will soon be able to return to stadiums.

Robinson said he believed the All Blacks will have a “not insignificant” test schedule by the end of the year.

“There are things breathing a huge amount of life into the game,” Robinson said. “There are a lot of things to be optimistic about for the second half of the year.”

Robinson said there is a possibility the All Blacks will play tests outside the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup series. The success in combating the coronavirus in New Zealand meant other nations are “reaching out … looking for opportunities,” he said.

Rugby Australia has proposed a four-match Bledisloe Cup series series this year, and also floated the idea of using Australia as a hub for the Rugby Championship series involving the All Blacks, Wallabies, World Cup champion South Africa and Argentina.


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