Having spent the past fortnight in the tropics, I enjoyed watching an entire Rugby World Cup match — Fiji v Wales — in Japan.

It was outdoors at the Royal Suva Yacht Club, the intermittent drizzle failing to flatten the effervescent ambience of the army of fans fuelling on the flowing frothy stuff. It was a far cry from livestreaming, devoid of any buffering or frosty fare.

It was an interesting blend of different nationalities and ethnicities, including a Kiwi entrepreneur from Timaru. Eyes glued to a projected outdoor screen, they found comfortable perches to ride the emotional rollercoaster.

At halftime, the faithful had begun to believe but the second yellow card against Fiji put paid to that.

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Not one person complained about the cards but after the final whistle a couple lamented how Wales hooker Ken Owens got away with a red card after picking up Fiji No 8 Viliame Mata before chucking him head first over his shoulder in the eighth minute.

Wales coach Warren Gatland's jokes aside on wife Cary Owen saving her hubby's bacon, the hooker walked away with a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Having returned home this week, I went through my RWC weekly wraps to find every single red card issued to date is warranted although the odd yellow one and "those who got away" again reaffirms my assertion the caste system for tier one and two nations still has a firm grip on rugby-dom.

Referee Ben O'Keeffe reasons with Scotland players after they got their wish to play Japan despite the threat of legal action against World Rugby amid a fatal typhoon in Japan. Photo / AP
Referee Ben O'Keeffe reasons with Scotland players after they got their wish to play Japan despite the threat of legal action against World Rugby amid a fatal typhoon in Japan. Photo / AP

With the mostly predictable results and the upsets from the United Nations of Japan out of the way, I find my interest has peaked in the RWC.

My preoccupation is with the great unwashed who masquerade as keyboard warriors on the slippery playground of social media platforms.

With the quarter-finals starting tomorrow, I'm expecting the blinkered mob to be crying foul any time referees see red.

Is it the dirtiest RWC since the first red issued at the inaugural tourney in New Zealand in 1987?

Ironically Welsh lock Huw Richards has that honour for punching All Black counterpart Gary Whetton although he probably would have had a better case of defence if he had biffed brother and flanker Alan Whetton.

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That no one was sent off in the 2003 RWC in Australia isn't so much that it was the cleanest tourney but more explicit of yesteryear when policing indiscretions on the paddock was akin to rounding up cows for dairy farming.

Nevertheless, this isn't the grubbiest RWC. It is simply one where the authorities have decided enough is enough with risking life-threatening injuries.

The problem isn't with the referees or the TMOs. It's with the teams.

Sure, the policing and enforcement has perhaps gone up a few notches from the past three years but the onus always is with the players to get it right. No ifs and buts or, as Australian winger Reece Hodge did, play the ignorance card on how he wasn't versed in World Rugby's head-high tackle rules when he was cited and slapped a three-match suspension for a dangerous hit on Fiji flanker Peceli Yato in their opening round match.

All the ranting and raving about how the attacking players now crouch when defenders come in for tackles is baseless.

Frankly with the number of injudicious head-high hits these days the human brain is programmed to duck for cover.

Suggestions that some sort of lenient red card should be introduced (send the culprit to the naughty chair and roll on a substitute) are ludicrous. Do that and every team will blatantly bend the rules in the knowledge they can maintain a XV presence on the park.

Coaches may argue they haven't had the time to adapt but even the Fifa World Cup — the planet's largest team tourney — takes radical stands. One tourney there was zero tolerance - no shirt grabbing and simulating and then, lo and behold, the pretty boys were allowed to rugby tackle at the 21st event in Russia last year.

Those who adapted progressed. Those who didn't, booked early flights home.

At the RWC, it's obvious referees want tacklers to watch and think before driving in. If a player's falling, let him succumb to gravity then forage for the ball, as one would in a rucking situation where the ball carrier has to release if the reinforcements don't arrive in time.

And no, it isn't reducing rugby to tiddly winks or touch rugger.

My experience, even with an outdoor audience country miles away from Japan, is that people enjoy the tension and drama unfolding when the referee consults his assistants or goes up to the TMO.

Referee Angus Gardner goes up for referral to the TMO in the pool C game between France and Argentina during the Rugby World Cup at Tokyo Stadium. Photo / AP
Referee Angus Gardner goes up for referral to the TMO in the pool C game between France and Argentina during the Rugby World Cup at Tokyo Stadium. Photo / AP

No they don't get it right every time but then neither do players so that's why the officials are there to maintain law and order.

If anything, the spectators take a thirsty sip to brainstorm the merits of a let-off, yellow or red.

But I'm not expecting teams or fans to stop bitching and bellyaching any time soon.

With Scotland threatening to sue World Rugby if their game against the hosts hadn't gone ahead due to Typhoon Hagibis, it seems the 80 and rising death toll in Japan counts for little when juxtaposed with the chance of making the playoffs.