England: Freddie Steward hails ‘brilliant’ orange card idea after Six Nations debacle

Colin Newboult
England fell to a 29-16 defeat to Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland in the tournament's final round. Here are the Red Rose player ratings after an improved performance. 

Full-back Freddie Steward believes that introducing an ‘orange card’ would benefit the sport after he was controversially sent off in England’s final Six Nations encounter.

The Red Rose star was handed his marching orders by Jaco Peyper after he collided with Ireland’s Hugo Keenan.

It was duly rescinded following an independent disciplinary panel, allowing Steward to play immediately, but it obviously didn’t restore the damage done to England during the clash.

Used in Super Rugby Pacific

Under these laws, which are currently being trialled by Super Rugby Pacific, a player will receive a yellow card that will be automatically reviewed while they are off the field.

During that 10 minutes, a second television match official will then assess the incident and decide whether to keep it as a yellow or upgrade it to red.

It is designed to both speed up the game and help the officials come to a more accurate decision without the pressure of it being endlessly replayed on the big screens for the baying fans to view.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Steward told MailOnline.

“When something like that happens it can take the sting out of the game with the TMO and the referee involved.

“I think it’s a good idea to leave that to other officials to review while the game can continue. I think it’s brilliant.”

Steward was not the only one to suffer in recent weeks, with Montpellier’s Zach Mercer having a red card rescinded following an incident in the Champions Cup tie with Exeter Chiefs.

“There have been a couple of incidents. There was one with Zach the other week. He got that rescinded,” Steward added.

“It’s bittersweet when it gets overturned because you don’t get a ban but you also don’t get the minutes back you lose after being sent off. That’s frustrating.

“I think it (orange cards) is a good step in the right direction.”

World Rugby’s thinking

World Rugby’s head of match officials Joel Jutge explained their thinking earlier in the week as they consider fast-tracking the law for the Rugby World Cup.

“This is an operation being tested in Super Rugby,” Jutge told Midi Olympique.

“In the event of a 50-50 decision, the referee has the possibility of giving a yellow card so that the game can resume as soon as possible, while the TMO has 10 minutes of temporary expulsion to decide whether this should be turned into a permanent expulsion.

“We would give orange cards, clearly.”

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