Stormers coach John Dobson says Jeremy Guscott’s radical law-change proposal regarding the use of substitutes in rugby is impossible.
The Springboks made waves at the World Cup 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.
In reaction to that tactic, Guscott – a former England and British & Irish Lions centre – has called on World Rugby to implement a football-like substitution law, by restricting the number of replacements from eight to three per match to allow for a fairer contest.
Welsh referee Nigel Owens has since come out in support of Guscott’s proposal, while two former Springboks – Corne Krige and Neil de Kock – have objected against a reduction in the number of allowed substitutions.
Dobson has now weighed in on the topic, saying if World Rugby adheres to Guscott’s proposal it would have dire consequences for the game.
‘It’s an impossibility. There was one game in the Currie Cup this year where six of our replacements were due to injury,’ Dobson said.
‘The way rugby is going now, from a 20-minute ball in play 25 years ago, to close to 40 minutes in Japan now [at the World Cup], going upwards of 300 or 400 collisions, it’s impossible.’
‘Otherwise it will become uncontested scrums. It’s ironic coming from an Englishman when England coach Eddie Jones said: “Come join us, mate, the game’s changed, mate.” In the week before the New Zealand semi-final, Jones announced his finishing team first,’ Dobson explained.
‘The idea of changing replacements is crazy because I think you’re going to become like rugby league. Then you have to condition every forward, you have to condition Steven Kitshoff to play 80 minutes, you have to condition Salmaan Moerat to play 80 minutes, then the power goes out of it and I think it goes completely against what we’re trying to do in South Africa. It might suit the Highlanders, but I’m not sure if it would suit South African teams.’
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