The FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International for 2015 is set to continue its grand tradition of trying out experimental laws, further cementing the tournament’s status as a testing ground for the laws of rugby.
This season sees the exciting reintroduction of the White Card – which was used in the inaugural 2008 Varsity Cup Final. The White Card is a card that can be used by either coach or captain to review a decision by the referee.
This exciting experiment is endorsed by the South African Rugby Union (SARU). Andre Watson, SARU General Manager Referees, had the following to say on the white card.
“This is a step in the right direction to assist referees to get that important decision correct, and to put some responsibility on the captain and coaches to help with the process.”
The White Card challenge system is to only be used during the Varsity Cup. The team challenge, or White Card, can be called by the team coach or captain.
During a stoppage in play they can request that the referee review a decision they believe to be incorrect, or request the referee to review an infringement that went unnoticed and requires appropriate sanction.
Duitser Bosman, CEO of the Varsity Cup was extremely positive about the reintroduction of the White Card.
“We at Varsity Cup started with the two referees this year and we are reintroducing now the white card this coming year in a process to get the game as fair as possible.”
The process of a White Card challenge is as follows: The coach will inform the TMO of the request for a review via radio contact.
The coach must advise details regarding the location on the field where the incident took place, the time it occurred as well as the phase in which it took place.
The TMO will inform the referee of the challenge. The referee will then, at the next stoppage of play, raise a white card to indicate that a request for a review has been lodged.
The TMO will then review the incident, and advise the on-field referee of the appropriate decision to be taken. The timing of the challenge is vital, as it should be done before the start of the next play.
For example: if the whistle blows and a scrum is awarded, the challenge should have been lodged in order for the match officials to review the decision. If the scrum has commenced with the ball being fed, no review can take place.
The coach, however, is not the only person who can lodge a team challenge. The on-field captain also has the right to review a decision.
The team/captain’s challenge also has clear parameters for the usage thereof. Each team (either the coach or the captain) is allowed two challenges per game. This in turn is limited to a single challenge per half.
If a challenge is successful, then it will remain intact for the remainder of the half. If a challenge is unsuccessful, the team will have no challenges remaining for the half. If a challenge is still intact at the end of a half, it expires.
It is important to note the following terms regarding the experimental White Card law: • There is no limit on what can be reviewed by either the coach or captain, provided it concerns an infringement of Law or incorrect application. • The outcome of the review by the TMO and the referee is final, and stands regardless.
Laws changed by Varsity Cup in the past: • Eight players on the bench which is being used world-wide in test matches; • Three point conversions and the two points penalties which is used in the Australian Domestic League • Free catch rule • 2 referee rule
Varsity Cup 2015 is set to be another action packed tournament, be sure to catch all the action on SuperSport 201 on Monday nights from 9 February at 16.45.