World Rugby responds to Lions legends’ plea

World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont has responded to a plea from former British & Irish Lions players and coaches to reduce the number of substitutions in the interests of player safety.

Shortly following the 2021 Lions series, a group of British & Irish Lions legends made a plea to World Rugby to only allow substitutes to be made in case of injury in order to make the game safer.

ALSO READ: Lions legends call on World Rugby to scrap subs

The signatories were reported to include Sir Ian McGeechan, Willie John McBride, Sir Gareth Edwards, Barry John, and John Taylor, who insisted it would be “grossly negligent” to allow the status quo of eight replacements to remain in place.

If approved, the move would see tactical substitutions removed from the game, with the claim that unleashing fresher, heavier players on tired players is detrimental to player welfare.

Beaumont, a former Lions player himself who toured South Africa with the team in 1980, produced a measured response on social media, saying that there needs to be more evidence before any rules are changed.

“We welcome all opinions that progress the player welfare debate,” Beaumont said on Twitter.

“We are well underway with a wide-ranging study into the impact of subs in elite rugby.

ALSO READ: Springboks could mark 100th Test against All Blacks at Twickenham

“It’s a complex area. Several variables being examined across 2,000 matches. Important we act with evidence & avoid any unintended consequences of any amendments.

“The research to date is not conclusive. Important also to note that elite rugby is very different to the community game. I’ll always ensure that we put players at the heart of our decision-making.”

Photo: Getty Images

Post by

Dylan Jack