— Published 22 August 2023

World Rugby unveils its new products

With less than a month to go, World Rugby unveiled two new features on Monday August 21, designed to speed up play and reduce time-outs at the World Cup in France (September 8 to October 28). The first, curiously named “bunker“, enables a yellow card – punishable by a ten-minute temporary expulsion – to be converted into a red card – synonymous with permanent expulsion – without interrupting play. In case of doubt, the central referee can first sanction the player with a temporary expulsion, then indicate to his counterpart in the bunker, an isolated area of the match, that he must review the action to determine whether the exclusion should become definitive. The bunker referee will have a maximum of eight minutes to review the incident, before deciding whether to uphold the yellow card or change it to red. Another new feature announced by World Rugby is a countdown timer to indicate to scorers how much time they have to complete their kick. The stopwatch will indicate the 90 seconds for a conversion, already provided for in rugby rules, and the 60 seconds for a penalty.