Scotland's Finn Russell, right, runs to gather a loose ball...

Scotland's Finn Russell, right, runs to gather a loose ball during the Six Nations international rugby union match between Ireland and Scotland, at the Aviva stadium in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, March 16, 2024. Credit: AP/Peter Morrison

DUBLIN — Rugby might be headed toward having 20-minute red cards.

The sport’s global governing body will set up a working group to explore whether a player who has been sent off can be replaced by another player after 20 minutes has elapsed.

The red-carded player would not be able to return for the rest of the match. The innovation was introduced by New Zealand in 2020 in Super Rugby to try and manage foul play without impacting the integrity of a match.

It has also been trialed in the Rugby Championship. It is being trialed in the New Zealand community game this year and next.

World Rugby said on Tuesday that a proposal for a global trial for this sanctioning process would be considered at its council meeting in May.

A fairly recent change in the use of red and yellow cards has seen World Rugby put a “bunker review system” in place, allowing a TV match official up to eight minutes to review footage and assess if an incident that led to a yellow card for a player should be upgraded to a red.

The idea for a 20-minute red card is one of a number contained in World Rugby’s “plan to enhance rugby’s global appeal” that was released on Tuesday.

Among other proposals, a working group will examine the latest research on the impact of fatigue and the number and timing of replacements in the elite game. There has been scrutiny, for example, on South Africa’s use of seven forwards on the bench.

The governing body will encourage closed law trials at domestic level of ideas such as the expansion of the shot clock for use at scrums and lineouts, and the introduction of a rule where the ball must be played after the maul has been stopped once, not twice.

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