THE Rainbow Cup is going to be used to trail red card replacements, captain's challenge and goalline drop-outs.

The Dragons get the new tournament under way against the Scarlets next weekend and they will have to get to grips with three law variations.

The Rainbow Cup will mirror Super Rugby in experimenting with changing red cards from a dismissal to a 20-minute spell off the field, with teams then allowed to replace the offender with one of their substitutes.

Captains will also be given one challenge per match to review try-scoring and foul-play incidents, with the scope to look at any of the referee’s decisions in the last five minutes.

South Wales Argus:

The skipper will have to make the challenge within 20 seconds of the whistle being blown for a stoppage in play, while scrum and lineout penalties cannot be referred.

Teams will keep their challenge if successful with captains having to reference specific incidents or infringements, with the emphasis on an error being clear and obvious.

The final change will see dropouts from the goalline for held-up over the line, knock-ons that occur in goal or when the ball is grounded by a defending player in the in-goal area after a kick through.

The ball must cut across the goal line and travel five metres or the non-kicking team will be able to have it taken again or opt for a five-metre scrum.

A missed penalty or drop-goal attempt will still result in a 22m drop-out for the defending team.

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “We applaud PRO14 Rugby and the respective clubs for their enthusiasm to trial a number of law variations in the Rainbow Cup.

“The addition of another top competition to the World Rugby law trials programme will provide invaluable data and feedback to determine future advances to game spectacle and player welfare.


  • TMOs will be able to go back to the last stoppage in play, regardless of how many phases have been played
  • Foul play challenges can be made after any stoppage in play if the captain believes foul play has been missed by the match officials
  • Captains must reference ‘specific’ incidents or infringements
  • Footage must be ‘clear and obvious’ for a challenge to be upheld
  • Captains cannot refer a scrum or lineout penalty, where the referee’s decision will be final

What cannot be challenged

  • A restart in play has happened including a quick tap or quick throw in has been taken, so the team has chosen to play quickly
  • Non-decisions - where a referee does not blow their whistle for a decision and play continues (unless there is foul play)
  • Set-piece decisions cannot be challenged because they are technical decisions that could provide multiple outcomes based on the interpretations of players and referees