Exeter’s Rob Baxter urges football law-makers to be careful over sin-bins trial

By Sports Desk November 29, 2023

Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter has urged football’s law-makers to be careful after they agreed that sin-bins should be trialled at higher levels of the sport.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has supported the move following a successful implementation in the grassroots game.

Temporary dismissals of players for offences such as dissent and specific tactical fouls were backed by IFAB at its annual business meeting.

Sin-bins have been used in rugby for more than 20 years, and they were introduced across all levels of grassroots football from the 2019-20 season in an attempt to improve levels of respect and fair play in the game.

“I will be honest with you, I am very surprised football are doing it,” said Baxter, who is one of the English game’s most respected voices.

“I was a bit surprised when football went to VAR, and I am not sure how much they realised they were letting the genie out of the bottle.

“We are meddlers in sport, and rugby is the worst of the lot. We have actually realised we want less TMO (television match official) intervention, the international game is saying we need less TMO intervention.

“All the commentators and ex-professional footballers are saying we need way less VAR interference, and if it does happen it has to happen quickly and the crowd need to know what it is about because it is just causing mayhem in big games.

“Once you start the process it is very hard to stop tinkering with it. They are tinkering with it all the time.

“One of the things that football has always had as its strength is that everyone can explain the rules within five minutes to your average new supporter and they will get it.

“My advice to football would be just be careful. Do you think you genuinely need it to improve player behaviour?

“Or do penalties, free-kicks and yellow cards as they stand, which can escalate to reds for a double yellow, have they got the sanctions already within their game to control player behaviour and they just haven’t been using them?

“That is what I see in football. They have got the sanctions available in their game, so use them. For player abuse you only need to do it in one or two games and things change very quickly.

“Introducing yellow cards and removing players from the pitch is something I would be very careful of.”

Baxter warned against the danger of quick fixes, and believes rugby has had its share of problems in this area.

“We have been guilty of starting processes without thinking about the repercussions,” he added. “We think they are quick-fixed, and actually are they?

“The big debate on the football radio this morning was to get rid of VAR completely because they don’t want two-minute stoppages while someone decides if it was a handball or not.

“We brought that into rugby and realise we’ve pushed it to the Nth degree. You have got to be careful with the card thing.

“When you start to say that taking players off the pitch is your way of controlling player behaviour, you’ve got to be careful about when you want to limit it.

“We brought it in the right way because it was for repeat infringements on the whole. It was something that was required in rugby to stop repeat, repeat, repeats in a cynical way.

“We’ve gone through the period of realising that taking players off the pitch at every available opportunity is not necessarily the way to create a good game.”

Related items

  • Andy Farrell says ‘top drawer’ defence fuelling Ireland’s Grand Slam charge Andy Farrell says ‘top drawer’ defence fuelling Ireland’s Grand Slam charge

    Andy Farrell feels a “top drawer” defence is fuelling Ireland’s pursuit of successive Grand Slam titles as he turns his attention to nullifying England’s new blitz approach.

    The reigning Guinness Six Nations champions limited Wales to a penalty try during Saturday’s 31-7 success in Dublin after nilling Italy 36-0 in round two on the back of beating France 38-17.

    Ireland, who have scored 15 tries across the three bonus-points wins, travel to Twickenham on March 9 seeking to keep their championship clean sweep quest on track before hosting Scotland on the final weekend.

    Head coach Farrell expects England to “go harder” as they get to grips with adopting an aggressive defensive strategy orchestrated by coach Felix Jones, who joined Steve Borthwick’s staff after helping South Africa retain the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.

    “It’s the South African defence and I know that Felix will constantly try and put his stamp on implementing that,” said Farrell.

    “There’s always going to be teething problems at the start but they’ll go harder because that’s their philosophy.

    “Our defence is top drawer, there’s no doubt about that.

    “It has been for quite some time now.

    “It was unbelievably fitting that we kept them (Wales) out because of the fight and want to be able to do that.

    “I thought our defensive shape wasn’t very nice at times but our intent certainly on the line said a lot about how much they love defending for one another.”

    Following two Twickenham defeats in the first year of the Farrell era, Ireland have beaten England four times in a row.

    Borthwick’s men were minutes away from reaching the World Cup final in October but have made an unconvincing start to the championship with narrow wins over Italy and Wales followed by Saturday’s 30-21 Calcutta Cup loss in Scotland.

    While Ireland will be favourites in south-west London, Farrell is aware matches can quickly change course after seeing Wales briefly gain the upper hand at the Aviva Stadium having trailed 17-0 at the break.

    “Going to Twickenham, everyone knows how difficult a task that is,” he said.

    “It’s not just as simple as saying we need to be better to win.

    “Of course we always want to play better but the game is what it is, from minute one.

    “For example, we’re winning the penalty count hands down at half-time (against Wales) and then all of a sudden within minutes of the second half, it has evened up.

    “That could happen in two weeks’ time, role reversal. The game takes its own shape but there’s parts of our game we obviously need to improve.”

  • Paolo Garbisi says sorry for missing the late chance to make history for Italy Paolo Garbisi says sorry for missing the late chance to make history for Italy

    Paolo Garbisi apologised for missing the injury-time penalty that denied Italy a slice of Guinness Six Nations history in France.

    The scores were level at 13-13 when Garbisi stepped up from 38 metres, with Italy a successful kick away from their first Six Nations Championship away win against Les Bleus.

    There was added drama as the ball toppled off its tee and, with just a few seconds left on the shot clock after it had been replaced, Garbisi rushed his kick and struck the right-hand post.

    “I was thinking about trusting my process really, it’s part of my job to put the kick over,” said Toulon fly-half Garbisi.

    “I take full responsibility for that and I’m sorry for the team because I thought they were amazing.

    “Also for all the Italian supporters, that’s my bad, and I will work on it.”

    Italy had lost 45 of their previous 48 games against France with their only victory on French soil coming in 1997, three years before joining the Championship.

    The Azzurri had also won only once in 44 Championship attempts, away to Wales in 2022.

    Italy were forced to defend for long periods in the first half but only trailed 10-0 when France centre Jonathan Danty was dismissed for making head-to-head contact in tackling Ignacio Brex.

    Danty’s yellow card on the stroke of half-time was upgraded to red during the interval by the bunker review system.

    In the second half, Garbisi cut a 13-3 deficit with a penalty before his touchline conversion levelled matters after full-back Ange Capuozzo ended a fine Azzurri move.

    Garbisi said: “The performance was good overall. If you get to 13-13 in the last minute with France, I think you’ve done pretty well.

    “The extra man helped us in the second half. First half we spent too much time in our half, because with the possession we were not that great.

    “Second half with one more man we could attack more and find space, but it all comes down to the last kick really.”

    While Italy remain bottom of the table, level on three points with Wales but with an inferior points difference, France stay fourth, nine points behind runaway leaders Ireland.

    France’s underwhelming championship has seen them routed at home by Ireland and claiming a narrow victory over Scotland after a controversial decision not to award the hosts a try in the last action of the match.

    “We were probably overplaying a little bit at the end of the game and took one too many risks and gave a penalty away,” France defence coach Shaun Edwards told ITV.

    “Fortunately he missed the kick but we’re disappointed with the draw. We expected to beat Italy here.

    “We had all the ball in the first half, total domination of territory and possession.

    “The second half was almost the total opposite. To concede 13 points with 14 players is not too bad, but we’re disappointed we didn’t get the win.”

  • 5 things we learned from round three of the Guinness Six Nations 5 things we learned from round three of the Guinness Six Nations

    Ireland and Scotland savoured victories in the third round of the Guinness Six Nations and Italy claimed an historic 13-13 draw against France, the first time the Azzurri have avoided Championship defeat away to Les Bleus.

    Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

    Mouthguards concern

    New technology surrounding mouthguards are concerning Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend. Scotland temporarily lost a second player in successive Six Nations matches for a head injury assessment triggered by the new technology. This championship is the first time elite male players have worn ‘instrumented’ mouthguards that send alerts whenever a ‘head acceleration event’ with G-force that exceeds 70g and 4,000 radians per second squared is detected. But Townsend said after Calcutta Cup success: “There’s a bit more work to do before this technology is correct.”

    Ireland appear unstoppable

    No side has managed back-to-back Grand Slams in the Six Nations era, but Ireland are within two games of doing so and it would take a brave punter to bet against them. Ireland recorded an 18th straight home win with a routine 31-7 success over Wales, equalling England’s Six Nations record of 11 consecutive victories. Andy Farrell’s side did not even have to produce their best to claim a third bonus-point win from three games – and now only England at Twickenham and Scotland in Dublin can stop Ireland holding another Grand Slam party.

    Scotland have England’s number

    The last time Scotland won four Calcutta Cups in a row Queen Victoria was on the throne and Lord Salisbury was Prime Minister. The year was 1896 and England failed to get on the board in a 11-0 Glasgow defeat. Over a century on, England slid to a 30-21 loss as Duhan Van Der Merwe supplied the Murrayfield magic in front of Harry Potter author JK Rowling. Van Der Merwe became the first Scotland player to score a Calcutta Cup hat-trick in moving to within one of the country’s all-time record try-scorer Stuart Hogg.

    Feyi-Waboso hits right notes

    New England wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso is known to tickle the ivories and apparently impressed head coach Steve Borthwick with his piano-playing at the team hotel. Borthwick would also have admired the way Feyi-Waboso sped through for his first Test try after coming on as a Murrayfield replacement. The powerful 21-year-old, who was born in Cardiff to Nigerian parents, spotted space and cut a delicious line to score. It was a touch of class to a predictable attacking performance from England, and calls for a starting spot are now set to be deafening.

    Winnett is a winner

    Full-back was potentially a problem position for Wales heading into the Six Nations, with Liam Williams unavailable due to club commitments in Japan, Leigh Halfpenny having retired from Test rugby and the versatile Louis Rees-Zammit quitting rugby union to try and forge an American football career. But step forward Cameron Winnett, who looks to the manner born just three games into his Test career. The 21-year-old has excelled in all areas and he was arguably Wales’ best player against Ireland. Nothing seems to fluster him.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.