The ‘scorched earth’ reflects a military strategy that destroys everything without regard to anything except its usefulness to an enemy.
Outside the war scenario it is used to describe an over the top policy that makes people change attitudes and behaviour – effectively ‘bombing them to the conference table’.
It is a method that World Rugby have started to apply – but, to date, using only water bombs!
If they are serious about stopping tip tackles, hitting players in the air, tackling without arms and round the neck as well as high tackles and swinging arms then they have to go nuclear.
All offences should be red cards – of course there will be unfair calls and coaches will be vociferous in their complaints. But if player welfare is so important then all of these dangerous offences have to be cut out. If, in the short term there are some injustices – so be it.
At present there is too much leniency and discussion on intent etc – in the England v Pumas game Eliott Daly was rightly red carded – but Juan Pablo Estelles only got yellow because Jonny May managed to break his fall. Both should have been red!
One season of draconian refereeing on the above offences and I guarantee that players and coaches would ensure that they were minimised. Losing games because red cards are shown instead of yellow or merely resulting in a penalty would focus the minds and bank balances bloody quickly.
Interestingly the NRL adopted a similar policy to stop punching following a State of Origin game – and it worked –
The message was clear. Fighting – striking another player with your fist – was outlawed. The penalties would be harsh, including suspension and sin-binning. Even in Origin, which had always been a special case, players must refrain from pulling the trigger.
A year later, there’s barely been a punch thrown in the NRL. And for the first time in history, we approach an Origin series without the real prospect of a ”fireworks”, the well-worn euphemism for players unleashing at the first opportunity.
This is what led to the policy being introduced–
And what happens if World Rugby don’t adopt extreme measures?
This happened in the NFL in the States –
Unlikely I accept – but does anyone want to take a chance on that?