Rugby’s clampdown on how the laws of the game are now refereed and interpreted have meant a spate of cards this year, including 51 red cards across the Guinness Pro14, French Top14, Gallagher Premiership, Super Rugby (2019 & 2020), Six Nations, The Rugby Championship, Six Nations and the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Out of these competitions, players from 22 countries have been carded and our investigation looks at which country tops this list.
Sebastien Vahaamahina will have the most recognisable card, having lost his head in that World Cup quarter final against Wales. Inexcusable, and his act in the match vs Wales (see main image) was not an isolated case in 2019/20.
France seemed to attract red cards as well as a massive 110 Yellow cards, over the same period.
The quickest red card belongs to Dan Evans of the Ospreys. He was dismissed after just ’37 seconds’ after his high boot caught Teddy Thomas in the face.
Les Bleus earn Red Cards galore
Naturally, countries like Portugal, Spain, Namibia, Japan, Georgia, USA, Canada, Tonga, and Russia lie low in numbers of cards received due to their lack of registered players in the major leagues.
The most surprising omission from the red card column is Scotland, who whilst not only participating in both the Six Nations and World Cup, host two professional sides and a plethora of players in other countries. Kudos due whereas, some of the most idolised countries are highly placed.
Despite the notion that their players do not receive cards, New Zealand sit fourth on the above list.
No doubt though, France lie way out in first place. Largely down to the sheer number of players in the Top14. In terms of refereeing style, northern hemisphere referees have been known to penalise players for more minute details, and more often. Whereas in Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship the play is more open, leading to less opportunity for cards.
With the season cut short, or at least postponed indefinitely in all the major countries the card count is much lower than normal, but France were well set to finish on top spot.
“Main photo credit”