Players who dive or feign injury at the Rugby World Cup run the risk of being sin-binned as the game’s governing body attempts to eradicate what it regards as football-style behaviour.
John Jeffrey, chairman of the World Rugby match officials selection committee, revealed that referees have been told to issue yellow cards in an attempt to crack down on simulation and other such undesirable behaviour.
“Diving would be ungentlemanly conduct. It would be a straight yellow card,” Jeffrey said.
The former Scotland flanker added: “There is a culture creeping in – I call it the football culture – of simulation; people appealing to the referee, players – and it has happened a couple of times – diving.
“That is going to be sanctioned very heavily in this tournament. We are the showcase of our rugby event and it’s very, very important that we keep our values there and referees have been asked to sanction very heavily on that.”
The Rugby World Cup gets under way on Friday when hosts England play Fiji at Twickenham; Ireland’s campaign begins on Saturday when they take on Canada.