World Rugby U20s "not the place" for rule experimentation: Gilmore

World Rugby U20s Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore says the World Rugby U20s Championship should not be the venue for rule experimentation after “overboard” refereeing in this year’s tournament.

The World Rugby U20s Championship is often used to trial new rules and in recent years has been the testing ground for harsher high tackle laws and more stringent send-offs.

There are other law amendments that have been less controversial, with teams allowed to name squads of up to 28 to ease player management throughout the tournament, but it is the high tackle decisions that have caused the most discussion around the tournament.

Gilmore said there were better places to put law changes to the test, pointing to even the second-tier World Rugby U20s Trophy competition as a better option.

“I don't think it's the place for it,” he said.

“All these boys come out from around the world, from Super Rugby or top 14 or European championship and none of those competitions are refereed in the same way so I probably question why the World U20s division one World Cup is the place we're going to be trialling these laws.

“Certainly there's other competitions in the world they could be done at a lower level just to see how it goes but I'm all for protecting the boys, that's got to be first and foremost but I just thought it affected their performances of teams at the world cup, which we don't want.”

Australia had two red cards during the tournament and one citing, while they were also the beneficiary of an early carding in a pool match against Ireland.

Red carded players were referred straight to the judiciary and many of them were let off without a suspension or had suspensions overturned despite the cardings.

Australia alone had a red card suspension and a high tackle citing overruled in the lead-up to the World Rugby U20s championship final.

Gilmore said that discrepancy alone showed that those red card decisions were often premature.


“I'm all for protecting the boys with the high tackle law, definitely, but it's definitely refereed harshly over there,”he said.

“If you have a look at the number of red cards across the tournament, not just with our football team, compared to the suspensions being given out you're really questioning whether the red cards were the maximum penalty in the first place.

“Being a World Cup, you don't want to see teams and games being affected by teams being down to 14 men and 13 men at times.

“So, I'm all for protecting the boys but I think they went overboard with it.”

The Junior Wallabies arrived back in Sydney from Argentina on Tuesday morning, after falling one point short of France in the World Rugby U20s final.