A referee makes the signal to consult the Television Match Official ©Getty Images

World Rugby is to undertake trials on the introduction of a yellow card and "dedicated foul play reviewers" joining a "Television Match Officials (TMO) Bunker" in a move designed to speed up the game.

The ideas will be put to test in June at the World Rugby Under 20 Championships in South Africa.

World Rugby insisted that an initial trial in Super Rugby Pacific had demonstrated that the system "had the potential to reduce lengthy stoppages and promote accurate decision making for foul play". 

The "TMO Bunker" would increase the number of officials responsible for the decision.

In International rugby at present, there is only one TMO,  who may be consulted on a limited range of decisions by the match referee.

Freddie Steward's red card in the last Six Nations match in Dublin was later rescinded ©Getty Images
Freddie Steward's red card in the last Six Nations match in Dublin was later rescinded ©Getty Images

The trials in South Africa will permit interventions and will allow "clear and obvious red cards for foul play involving contact with the head".

Officials have also been told that "for any incident where a red card is not obvious, a yellow card will be issued".

This system will allow the match to continue, while officials continue to examine the decision over the next ten minutes.

"Dedicated foul play reviewers in a central bunker review the incident using all available technology and footage," the World Rugby directive for the trials stated.

"Once 10 minutes has elapsed, the yellow card is either upheld and the player returns to the action or it is upgraded and the player permanently leaves the field, unable to be replaced." 

The ideas were suggested at the Shape of the Game conference held in London by World Rugby last month.

In 2018, the World Rugby Under 20 Championship had previously been used to trial regulation of tackle height.

Video officials had first been used in South African domestic rugby in 1995 and were introduced at international level in 2000.

In recent years, concerns have been raised about the time taken by officials to reach decisions and errors which have been made.

Last month, England full back Freddie Steward was given a red card during the last Six Nations match in Dublin by referee Jaco Peyper following a head collision with Ireland’s Hugo Keenan.

The card was later rescinded after review.

"I think it’s a good idea, when something like that happens it can take the sting out of the game with the TMO and the referee involved," Steward told MailOnline.

"I think it’s a good idea to leave that to other officials to review while the game can continue."

World Rugby have indicated that if the trial in South Africa proves successful, further trials could take place in international matches before the Rugby World Cup, which is set to begin on September 8.