Players caught diving, feigning injury or pressuring the referee into making decisions will be cautioned at the Rugby World Cup

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The Rugby World Cup match officials committee has told referees to crack down on diving and players faking injuries as the sport tries to move away from what it describes as the “football culture”.

Referees will dish out yellow cards to players going down too easily, while citing commissioners can retrospectively issue warnings, with sport.co.za reporting that a ban may befall the player after three cautions.

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Committee chief John Jeffrey told a press conference that players pressuring referees into making decisions will also be punished.

“There is a culture creeping in. I call it the football culture of simulation, people appealing to referees, players – and it has happened a couple of times – diving,” said Jeffrey.

“That is going to be sanctioned very heavily in this tournament.”

While diving is still not a huge issue in rugby, incidents have seemingly crept into the game – notably Argentinian fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, who was accused of diving after the incident that saw Australia’s Michael Hooper banned for one game for striking the player.

Also, French winger Yoann Huget was warned by European Professional Club Rugby after feigning injury while playing for Toulouse against Bath last season.

“It is very, very important that we keep our values,” Jeffrey, the former Scotland international, added. “Referees have been asked to sanction very heavily on that.”