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New law variations announced for upcoming Rainbow Cup

Rainbow Cup

The upcoming Guinness Pro14 Rainbow Cup will feature three new law variations, all of which have been used in Super Rugby AU and Aotearoa.

The one-off tournament known as the Rainbow Cup will introduce the top four South African sides – the Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers – and kicks off on Friday, April 23.

Tournament organisers have announced that there will be three law variations used in the competition, all of which have been used in the premier southern hemisphere club rugby tournament.

20-minute red card.

The revised red card rule will allow teams to replace the player who was sent off with a replacement 20 minutes after the incident. This rule will still apply if a player is shown two yellow cards.

The rule has been introduced partly due to red cards being shown late on in the game not having as big an impact as red cards handed out early on in the game. (A red card in the 20th minute disadvantages a team for 60 minutes, while a red card in the 60th minute only disadvantages a team for 20 minutes).

This rule was first used in professional rugby in the opening game of the 2021 Super Rugby AU season between the Queensland Reds and the New South Wales Waratahs.

Goal-line drop-out.

The new goal-line drop-out law states that after a player is held up over the opposition tryline, knocks the ball on in the opposition’s in-goal area or a defending player grounds the ball in his own in-goal area, a drop kick is taken from their own try line.

Under the regular laws, in the first two instances the attacking team would be given a scrum five metres out from the opposition try line, where in the third instance a drop kick could be taken from the 22.

Captain’s challenge.

The captain’s challenge allows a captain to ask the referee to check for foul play or an infringement before the 75th minute. After the 75th minute the captain can refer any decision to the referee.

Challenges can only be made within 20 seconds of the referee blowing the whistle for a stop in play, but can only be made if they can reference a specific incident.

Each team gets one challenge per match, but if a captain is successful with his referral then his team retains their one challenge, which can be used again in the match.

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