Foul play incidents leave World Rugby with plenty of unanswered questions

Centralised disciplinary system needs to be centralised under the sport’s governing body

Jordie Barrett had his initial red card for inadvertently kicking Marika Koroirbete rescinded. Photograph: Graham Conaty/Getty Images

Jordie Barrett had his initial red card for inadvertently kicking Marika Koroirbete rescinded. Photograph: Graham Conaty/Getty Images

New Zealand fullback Jordie Barrett’s boot struck a lot of points in Cardiff. It also struck the face of Marika Koroibete very recently when New Zealand played Australia. As he rose to catch a high ball, Barrett’s right leg shot out in front of him, and referee Damon Murphy gave the absolutely correct red card decision.

But the story isn’t over. The judicial panel bought fully into the explanation, provided by biomechanical engineers in defence of the player, that Barrett’s foot came up only because he was attempting to rebalance himself, and that the contact was inadvertent. Not intentional is agreed, but it’s far too big a stretch that it was neither reckless or dangerous. The result was that not only did Barrett get away scot free, the red card was expunged from his record. The judicial panel also reviewed the medical report of Koroibete, who, thanks only to good fortune, had not been injured.

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