Modern day rugby is a game for big men in a full-on collision sport that can be brutal at times and regularly leads to serious injury.

Which means that referees in Japan are under close scrutiny to make sure that player safety is top of their consideration when two sets of giants come face to face in a World Cup tie.

Twenty stones of raw forward power running at you can only have one result.

There have been so many calls on the Television Match Official to decide on dangerous play that matches are stretching well past the two-hour mark.

And not everybody is happy with World Rugby’s idea of what is dangerous.

You can say one thing about Australians – they know how to have a good old whinge, but did their coach Michael Cheika have a point when he claimed that administrators are ‘spooking the referees?’

“As a former player I don’t know the rules any more,” Cheika said. “You have to take care of players but not to an extreme where you are looking after players for doctors and lawyers.”

Some of the stoppages to allow the TV ref to make a decision are taking so much time that they make VAR look lightning fast and Cheika reckons referees are being over cautious.

Maybe it is only coincidence that his outburst came after the Wallabies were beaten by Wales.

But the crackdown will go on – though there had been only two red cards, given when Owen Farrell copped a high one against the USA and and one in the closing stages of Uruguay v Georgia, before Samoa’s Ed Fidow was sent off against Scotland yesterday.

England’s World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson called for common sense, saying: “We have got to be sensible and not think everything above a certain height his horrific. It has always been illegal to tackle high.”

Clearly nobody is suggesting that the game has any time for head hunters and whatever the impact of any clampdown, there is no doubt that the hosts have really taken to this World Cup and are packing the stadiums for every game.

Even the no-hopers in the 20-team competition are pulling in the crowds.

*When Frank Lampard and Steve Bruce took over at the clubs they had supported since their boyhood days this column expressed doubts about the wisdom of such moves.

Lampard is doing a good job and has already won over any doubters at Stamford Bridge. So at least we can say one out of two isn’t bad.

For Steve Bruce life at St James’ Park hit a new low with a 5-0 drubbing and a sending off at Leicester City.

There was no hiding place for Bruce after what he described as ‘a complete surrender that came too quickly and too easily.’

“It was as bad an afternoon as I can remember and ultimately as coach I accept responsibility,” he said.

And as if the on-field troubles were not enough for the Newcastle manager, there is the neverending rumour that unloved owner Mike Ashley is about to sell the club.

The story goes that former Chelsea and Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon is in talks with a Florida company to make a £300 million bid to take over the Magpies.

This must be the umpteenth time you have read about a possible buyer to take the club off Ashley’s hands.

Believe it when it happens because it wouldn’t be the first time that talk of club takeovers are nothing more than that – all talk.

*If you think that VAR is not all it is cracked up to be you are about to get some support from an unlikely source…. the boss of European referees.

After yet another weekend of argument about the pros and cons of this so-called referees’ aid, comes a tale from UEFA that video referees should stop overturning on-field decisions unless there is a clear view that the player is offside.

“If it is too difficult to determine the off-side position it cannot intervene. We would prefer no intervention if it is not clear offside,” said UEFA referees’ chief Roberto Rossetti.

Meanwhile, the Premier League insist on scrutinising ever goal from every angle and at every speed in the search for a reason to disallow it.

If Mr Rossetti gets his way it leads to the question: If it is a clear and obvious offside, what is the point of VAR in the first place? Why not leave it up to the man with the flag to get on with the job he is paid for?

Now there’s a revolutionary move to help the game.