Springboks: Wales coach hits out at bomb squad bench
Wales coach Warren Gatland recently implied that the Springboks were misusing the bench, and has suggested a law change.
One of the talking points during the 2023 Test rugby season was the unique decision by the Springboks to occasionally use a 7-1 forwards-to-backs split on the bench when it suited certain opposition and team strategies.
It was another bold move which expanded on the Springboks’ initial bomb squad tactic of loading the bench with forwards in a 6-2 split, but several critics suggested going with a 7-1 configuration was taking it a step too far.
THE SPRINGBOKS HAVE DIVIDED OPINION ON THE MATTER
Recently, when writing in his column for UK publication The Telegraph, Wales coach Warren Gatland has suggested World Rugby should look at reducing the number of replacements, while specifically calling out the Springboks.
“The game is producing incredibly powerful athletes and when you see teams like South Africa at the World Cup name a bench with seven forwards and just one back, it means that your forwards only have to play for 40 minutes. That was not what it was intended for,” Gatland wrote in his Telegraph column.
“Rugby used to be about attempting to tire out a forward pack so that the space opened up in the final 20 minutes and there were more opportunities to attack. We are not seeing that at the moment because of the number of replacements and the incredible athletes we are producing.
“I think the time has come to trial a reduction in the number of replacements or even a return to when they were only for injuries. This ruling may just apply to top-level or international rugby.”
GATLAND CALLS FOR ANOTHER CHANGE
The Welsh coach also highlighted his feeling that it was time to take away the ‘mark’, which can be called when a high kick is gathered inside your own 22,
“One I have been thinking about is taking the ‘mark’ out of the game. I am not sure there is a need for it anymore.
“It just slows the game down and takes some of the jeopardy out of putting high balls up into the opposition 22.”