Ensuring a sanctioning regime that reaffirms Rugby's core values of discipline and integrity and which reflects the contemporary playing environment was the focus for the international players, coaches, referees and administrators at the IRB Morality Conference in London on Monday and Tuesday.
With Rugby experiencing unprecedented growth at elite and community levels and the sport reaching out to new countries and communities owing to the success of Rugby World Cup and Rugby's re-inclusion in the Olympic Games, the forum provided the perfect opportunity to take stock and review whether the Game's disciplinary tariffs are fit for purpose at all levels of the Game. A similar event was held in 2005 when the tariff structure in its current form was devised with the tiered entry point system for low, mid-range and top end offending.
The Morality Conference, as it is termed, was opened by IRB Vice Chairman Oregan Hoskins. The representatives who were drawn from the international ranks of the Game, considered the full spectrum of the disciplinary sanctioning regime under Regulation 17 (Foul Play) with a view to making recommendations for IRB Council approval. This process was part of an ongoing wider review of Regulation 17 by the IRB.
Areas considered by the delegates included the tip tackle, trampling or stamping, abuse of match officials, eye-gouging and the appropriate associated tariffs.
Hoskins said: "The recommendations from the inaugural IRB Morality Conference in 2005 guided and informed the IRB Council in amending Regulation 17 to ensure an appropriate framework to address on field foul play. Those recommendations ultimately have served the Game well."
"However, the global Rugby landscape continues to evolve at elite and community levels. There is increased scrutiny of Rugby's Laws and Regulations from fans and the media. Player welfare and upholding the values of the Game are of paramount importance as we reach out to more men, women and children around the world."
"It was invaluable to have top international players, coaches and referees from the men's, women's and Sevens Game expressing their views, identifying trends, critiquing the tariffs, calibrating and making recommendations for Council to consider."
"After all, they are the very lifeblood of our Game. I would like to thank them and their Unions for their full contribution to the Conference and commitment to and enthusiasm for the process."
The group identified the need for Game-wide education of the disciplinary process and consistency of application of that process in both the Sevens and Fifteens Game as of paramount importance.
Playing representatives: Maggie Alphonsi (England), Danny Grewcock (England), David Barnes (IRPA), Al Baxter (Australia), John Smit (South Africa), Jean Claude Skrela (France), Didier Retière (France), Agustin Pichot (Argentina), Chris Paterson (Scotland), Omar Hassanein (IRPA), Rhodri Gomer-Davies (Wales), Phil Orr (Ireland), Carlo Checcinato (Italy), Graham Mourie (IRB Rugby Committee Chairman).
Coaching representatives: Robbie Deans (Australia), Jean Claude Skrela (France), Joe Lydon (Wales).
Refereeing representatives: Paddy O'Brien (IRB), Ed Morrison (England).
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