A compilation has been put together of all 12 red cards from the entirety of the Six Nations championship since its inception in 2000.
The seven-minute video begins with Italian scrum half Alessandro Troncon’s punch on Peter Stringer in 2001 and finishes with Finn Russell’s dismissal during this year’s championship finale against France in Paris.
Of the 12 red cards in the 21-year history of the competition, seven have come in the two most recent tournaments following a crack down on tackle heights.
Scott Murray’s kick out on Ian Gough in 2006 was the second red card in the competition and it took another eight years before a player was dismissed early by the referee.
In 2014 there was a double red for props Michele Rizzo and Rabah Slimani before Scottish full back Stuart Hogg was sent off for a late shoulder charge on Dan Biggar at the Principality Stadium.
It then took another six years before a player was sent off, when Tuilagi hit George North around the head in the dying minutes at Twickenham, sparking a plethora of red cards.
French forward Mohamed Haouas was next to go that year for throwing a hug punch on Scottish flanker Jamie Ritchie before Peter O’Mahony, Zander Fagerson, Bundee Aki, Paul Willemse and Finn Russell were all sent off in this year’s tournament.
The 2021 competition therefore has the most red cards by far with an unprecedented five players not finishing a game. A combination of high tackles and illegal clearcuts were largely responsible for the surge in cards while Willemse was deemed to have gouged a Welsh player while clearing him out at a breakdown.
If this year’s competition is anything to go by, we can expect another collection of red cards to plague the 2022 tournament as World Rugby continues to crack down on player welfare.