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Golden point and red-card subs among Super Rugby Aotearoa innovations

Golden-point tie-breakers and red-card replacements are among the innovations set to be used when Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced the rules will come into play for its domestic version of Super Rugby, which is taking place in lieu of the proper competition that was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the changes is the introduction of a golden point, a format used in NRL where the first team to score  – either by try, drop goal or penalty – in the event of a draw in an additional 10-minute period wins the game.

Teams can also bring on a replacement for a player who receives a red card 20 minutes after they have been sent off. The punished player will still be subject to SANZAAR's existing judicial process and cannot return to the field.

NZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said: "We want this competition to look and feel different. 

"We've had great support from our coaches, players and referees to make Super Rugby Aotearoa faster, safer and more exciting than ever before.

"Draws can often leave everyone feeling a little empty and after feedback from our coaches and players we have added the golden point rule. We've seen the excitement it can generate in other codes and we think adds a real edge.

"While players should, and still will be, punished for foul play, red cards can sometimes have too much of an effect on a match. 

"There are no winners when a player is red carded, but paying rugby fans, players and coaches want to see a fair contest. Replacing a player after 20 minutes strikes the right balance."

NZR also said referees will enforce rules at the breakdown more strictly in a bid to create more attacking rugby.

The Highlanders versus the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, will kick off Super Rugby Aotearoa on June 13.