The Rugby Football Union yesterday warned a disciplinary crackdown will lead to more red cards and harsher penalties being applied by judicial committees.
The new discipline code was introduced by the International Rugby Board on January 1 but will be applied to the English domestic game from this weekend's first round of Guinness Premiership fixtures.
The stringent new stance is aimed at cutting violence from the game and will go a long way to stopping the Crown Prosecution Service policing rugby's on-field business.
The RFU's disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett warned: "There is going to be a much tougher stance both in deciding who should be brought before disciplinary panels and the level of sanction applied.
"I shall be instructing citing officers to be much more proactive in bringing violent acts to the attention of the disciplinary process and I shall be encouraging referees to use red cards more often. We all want to get rid of foul play and there is a view that sometimes a yellow card has been used when a red card might have been applied."
The maximum punishment for striking a player is now 12 months while biting carries a sanction ranging from three months to three years.
The CPS have insisted that sportsmen are not immune from prosecution just because they are on the field of play.
But Lord Woolfe in a Court of Appeal judgement relating to a recent case brought by an amateur footballer stated that where sports bodies have a reasonable and proper disciplinary process the courts should hesitate to interfere.
Blackett explained: "The only time that the CPS would want to get involved with rugby is where a player is seriously injured and reports it to the police.
"I don't foresee there being any change for rugby and it is right that our system is open, easy to appeal and applies proportionate and reasonable sanctions."
The IRB have tried to apply some "science to the sanctioning" and the new disciplinary structure has been introduced worldwide in a bid to improve consistency when dealing with foul play.
The severity of offences will be judged as being a lower-end, mid-range or toplevel offence, each of which carries an increasingly more severe 'entry-point' penalty.
From that basis a judicial panel will then assess any mitigating circumstances or aggravating factors and adjust the penalty accordingly.
Neil Back's punch on Joe Worsley in the Grand Final last year, for which he received a four-week ban, might be considered a midlevel offence which carries a three-month suspension. But mitigating circumstances - a guilty plea, clean track record, any provocation - could see that ban reduced by up to 50 per cent.
Equally, if a player committed the same offence and was considered a serial offender who had pleaded not guilty and showed no remorse, a disciplinary panel could increase the penalty.
Blackett accepted the system has thrown up some inconsistent results, with the case of South African winger Breyton Paulse a prime example. Paulse was given a three-week ban for kicking Australian prop Al Baxter when the minimum entrylevel punishment for the offence is three months.
Even if Paulse had every mitigating factor in his favour, the code states he should still have received a six-week suspension.
That case prompted considerable communication between the IRB's judiciary officers, and Blackett stressed the IRB are working hard to ensure the structure is as accurate as possible by the 2007 World Cup. That includes the development of a merit-based system for the appointment of judicial officers which should ensure neutral appointments for Test matches.
"The processes are bedding in and there will be a learning process among judicial officers as well," said Blackett.
"With the merit-based judiciary and these regulations bedded down and some fine tuning, players will fully understand the sanctions before the Rugby World Cup in 2007."
Despite the warnings of stiffer penalties and more red cards, the RFU's elite referees' officer Ed Morrison was anxious to point out there have been no rule changes in the sport.
"We all recognise rugby is cleaner now than ever, " said Morrison.
"But you still get the occasional incident which tarnishes the sport."
"Nobody condones violence and if a referee witnesses an act of violence that is unacceptable it is dealt with."