Rugby World Cup 2019 is at risk. Here’s why.

30 May 2024, Thursday









Rugby World Cup 2019 looms large and it looks like it’s going to be an exceptional six weeks of all out action in Japan.

Let’s hope so, but something which is of an increasing concern, is how World Rugby CEO, Brett Gosper continues to push for more red cards.

The only way you can get player behaviour to change is to sanction with red cards. I would say in many ways we have probably not been hard enough – and not seen as many red cards as we would like.   Brett Gosper

His call for more red cards is making the paying spectator see red.

Red cards ruin rugby contests, especially when they come early in the game.

We all know that World Rugby wants to stamp out reckless and dangerous play that can lead to serious injury.

The players know that – we all know this.

No one is in disagreement that dangerous play needs to be sanctioned severely.

But, why continue with the unnecessary sanction of the paying rugby spectator –  the paying sponsors –  and the broadcasters who want maximum viewership.

Supporters will pay hefty prices to follow their teams in Japan, and all they wish for is to see a fair contest – where 15 rugby players come up against 15 rugby players.


Brett Gosper is failing to see the bigger picture in that sport is a platform for:


You have to GET IT RIGHT ON ALL THREE FRONTS to bring more people into the game on a worldwide basis.

When too much emphasis is placed on ’EDUCATING’ – as with stamping out dangerous play with red cards, World Rugby is effectively shooting themselves in the foot.

People have plenty of options on what they choose to do, choose to watch and choose to support.

Nobody will give too much time to a non- contest in sport.

Nobody wants a hollow victory.

Hopefully, World Rugby will urgently take a leaf out of the ICC rule book, where the cricket authorities recently changed the rule book, to allow concussed players to be replaced, so as not to unduly disrupt the game in progress.

A rugby red is a rugby red.No squabble with that.

Is there a better way to sanction dangerous play? Yes there is.

The red carded player should leave the field immediately, and thereafter have an automatic six week suspension period.

The game however should not be unduly disrupted – with a penalty awarded, and the offending player being allowed to be replaced from the existing bench players – after a 10 minute suspension period.

Then it’s back to a fair 15 versus 15 contest.

It’s game on again.  A Win / Win situation for all.

It’s the player who should be heavily sanctioned – not the paying spectators – not the sponsors – not the broadcasters.

The offending player must be allowed to put his case for a lesser suspension period after the game, at a disciplinary hearing.

The educational message is enforced afterwards by the severity of the suspension period agreed by a disciplinary committee, not the referee whose job it is to let the game flow.

When one hits the players pockets harder , the players will steer well clear of attempting any dangerous foul play.

Come on World Rugby.

Too much pressure is currently being placed on the referees. And the players.

It’s not too late to change.

If not, I see a wonderful spectacle in Japan, being ruined by an enforced red card call at a crucial knock out  point in the tournament.

World rugby deserves better.

What do you think?

Your feedback is always appreciated.


Go Great



Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist, Key-note Speaker, Author, Performance Coach to Teams and Life Coach to Individuals.

His game- changing THE GAME PLAN METHOD, is helping both teams and individuals throughout South Africa to achieve their greatest potential.




THE GAME CHANGERS – how to power up your game from Good to Great to Greater: Robert. A. Opie 

If you would like a complimentary eCopy sent to your inbox, just send me a request at

Or book an inspirational and interactive talk to take your team to that next level of Performance , Growth and Contribution.


Taylor-made packages to fit your needs, your wants and your budget.

You can find out more at: