One red carded player has resulted in two Italians leaving the pitch in what is being branded a “farcical rule” during a Six Nations clash with Ireland.

Twitter has erupted with rugby fans furious at a rugby union rule-change meaning one player being sent off meant Italy actually lost two players.

The rule surrounds maintaining the safety of the scrum but in this case resulted in Italy having effectively received two punishments for the same offence.


Six Nations: Italy red card explained

The situation began when Italy’s number 2, Gianmarco Lucchesi, was injured in the ninth minute and was replaced by substitute hooker, Epalahame Faiva.

Ten minutes later, Faiva was shown the red card for a dangerous tackle.

With no hookers left, either on the field or the bench, the referee ruled they would have to play uncontested scrums – where neither team “pushes” for the ball during a scrum.

This is because of the risks involved during scrums, when specialist players carry out the front-row duties.

However, the controversial new rule meant Italy must also face a further punishment, as the team responsible for the uncontested scrums, having to nominate another player to leave the field.

This meant the Italian side was reduced to 13 players in the 20th minute of the game.


Fans furious over Italy Six Nations Red Card

Following the sending off, fans took to twitter to vent their frustration at the rule.

Neil Roby said: "Yet again the farcical rule of double jeopardy for a red card and front row injury. 60 mins now with 13 players is a game nobody wants to watch."

Tom Robertson added: "next episode of Whistle Watch to explain this one... even as an avid fan I don’t understand this rule at all! Red card or no red card, having 2 players sent off for one player’s mistake seems pretty unfair."

While Mike questioned the validity of the red card in the first place, saying: "That was a really odd red card. I don't dispute it was high but I don't know that in real time there was any chance to mitigate. Yellow...ok red...nope. And now, the game is ruined. I almost don't want to watch it."