So, the new ELVs have been used for the past few weeks of the S14 and unfortunately the SA teams can't seem to get to grips with it
Anyway, I don't want to turn this into a Super14 discussion, because my boys are doing BADLY, but just a talk about the 'new' rules.
The ELV really puts the pressure on the referee now to handle the game well. Some referees have not and this has led to some foul play at times going really unpunished.
Refs really need to punish repeat offenders, but now this means they have to take out cards more. This reduces games to non-contests at times, so Freek Burger, who until two years ago was the manager of referees at the South African Rugby Union, came up with a pretty cool solution to this:
He drew up a proposal where he suggested to the International Rugby Board that instead of sending players off for ten minutes, a yellow card should signify an early shower.
But instead of forcing his team to play with 14 men, Burger proposed that the yellow carded player should be replaced. It is his argument that playing 15 against 14 makes it an unfair contest, and has too much of a dramatic impact on the way the game is played and, quite often, also the end result.
There are probably some readers out there who are now asking “But surely the team should be punished in some way?” The answer to that is that they will be. Under Burger’s proposal, you would not be allowed to reinforce the bench during play, so a yellow card effectively removes a substitute option, and the more yellow cards you get the more the impact is felt later when you would be wanting to employ super-subs.
And having a key player removed from the game for the rest of the match is not exactly something most teams would want either. So it is not as if the team really wins from the scenario proposed by Burger.
Ultimately the real winner though is he spectator because keeping it as a 15 against 15 match does not cheapen the occasion or too dramatically alter the contest.