Former Springbok scrumhalf Neil de Kock said he was left perplexed by Jeremy Guscott’s comments regarding the use of substitutes after the World Cup final.
The Springboks made waves in the tournament through their use of a six-two split between forwards and backs on their bench. The tactic essentially allowed Bok coach Rassie Erasmus to bring on a new and fresh pack of forwards in the second half and played a big role in the team’s progress through the playoffs.
After the World Cup final win over England, where Erasmus again used the tactic to good effect, former English centre Guscott shared his views about the use of replacements through a column for The Rugby Paper.
‘It would be an even better sport if the bench was reduced in number.’ Guscott wrote. ‘Half a team coming on with fresh legs and sharp minds against guys, who have been taken to the point of exhaustion, is pushing the game out of the realms of normality. We have got to make sure that rugby union remains a game in which skill and fitness are paramount – even though the fitness element has been eroded.’
In an interview with Sport24, De Kock became the latest to question Guscott’s views, admitting he was puzzled by the suggestion of halving the number of replacements, especially in the context of player safety.
‘We have been harping on about player welfare for the last decade and I still don’t think we have sorted out that issue,’ De Kock said. ‘The fact is that players are played too often and get injured and now, if you want to have fewer substitutions, it doesn’t make sense.’
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