Jake White says it’s time to consider scrapping the rule that forces teams to announce their match-day squads at least 48 hours before kick-off.
In a column for AllOutRugby, the former World-Cup winning Springbok coach wrote that the standard team announcements, in it’s current form, is a pointless practice that should be abolished.
‘Rudolf Straeuli didn’t make any friends in New Zealand last month when he pinned a surprise 23-17 win against the Chiefs on a late change to the team sheet. Named to start off the bench, Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies ambushed the Chiefs when they jogged on for the opening kick-off.
‘That got me thinking about why rugby teams are required to announce their match-day squads. What is the point?
‘Only a few days prior to this Super Rugby match I was at Anfield to watch Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0. I really tried to soak up the full football experience, and part of that was mingling with the locals. What stood out on the day of the match was that a lot of the chat was about the lineup that each of the managers would field.
‘The team lists were announced not long before kick-off and the locals drew a lot out of the combinations, the formation and who was on the bench. That’s a big part of the weekly intrigue for football supporters. As was the case for the Lions, I think that rugby would benefit greatly from scrapping the early team announcement.
‘We’re talking about a sport that’s becoming more and more technical, and where analysis is playing a bigger role every season. By unveiling the team two days in advance, your plans are telegraphed to your opponents and they know what’s coming.
‘It’s also a procedure that makes every match more vulnerable to unexpected weather. Pushing back the team announcement would add a level of excitement to the match-day experience for supporters and a layer of unpredictability to the contest.’