There is no set guideline on what may or may not be a technical offence worthy of a yellow card, through repeat offending, either by an individual or a team, and whether the action was cynical or not are often used by referees to gauge whether a yellow card is required.
For dangerous play, the criteria are clearer, with increased severity of an offence upping the sanction to a red card.
If a penalty try is awarded, a yellow card must be shown to the conceding team if the player who committed the offence can be identified.
For this year’s Rugby World Cup, the disciplinary process has been revamped.
Incidents of foul play that clearly meet the yellow card threshold are now placed on review by the on-field referee, who shows the player who committed the offence a yellow card.
The foul play review official (FRPO), based in a bunker in Paris during the tournament, then has eight minutes to decide whether the incident merits an upgrade to red.
If yes, the player is sent off and can take no further part in the game. If no, the player returns after serving their ten minutes off the pitch.
If a player is shown two yellow cards, regardless of what they were for, during the same game, they are automatically sent off.
An individual that receives three yellow cards during the course of a single season or tournament will appear in front of a disciplinary committee.
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