Corne Krige believes World Rugby’s planned key law change to reduce the number of permitted substitutes per match is an attempt to undermine South African rugby and the Springboks.
South Africa used their replacements bench superbly throughout the World Cup, with their now famed ‘bomb squad’ of six forwards and just two backs playing a major role in the Boks’ title triumph.
But the bomb-squad tactic could effectively be over soon, after an exclusive report in the Telegraph has revealed that World Rugby is considering reducing the number of substitutes allowed during a match. The governing body will base its decision on an ongoing study on the impact of replacements on injuries and the pace of the game.
The thinking behind the move – which World Rugby’s chief medical officer Dr Eanna Falvey revealed to the Telegraph – is that players would need to shed their weight in order to last the full 80 minutes.
But former Bok captain Krige told Sport24 when he heard about World Rugby’s plan, he immediately thought it was to rein in and limit the Springboks.
‘I immediately thought this is nothing more than another blatant attempt to undermine our national team,’ he said.
‘We’ll always have one of the biggest and best groups of forwards in the world. It’s in the local game’s DNA. Why must South African teams be punished for a strength that occurs naturally?
‘Why can’t we be allowed to maximise this brilliant advantage granted to us,’ he questioned.
‘From a tactical perspective, a smaller bench would require some creativity from coaches in terms of their decisions. That could make things interesting.
‘But that’s not enough of a reason for me to change the status quo. All that the Springboks have done is legally apply the law to their advantage and that’s to maximise possessing a squad of forwards so competitive that they might essentially be interchangeable,’ he explained.
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