A group of British and Irish Lions legends, headed by Sir Ian McGeechan have called on World Rugby to limit replacements except in case of injury.
The signatories, which include Lions legends Sir Ian McGeechan, Willie John McBride, Sir Gareth Edwards, Barry John, and John Taylor have sent an open letter demanding the sport’s governing body makes the game safer.
“Rugby union was conceived as a 15-a-side game for 30 players,” started the letter.
“With the current eight substitutes per side, many of whom are tactical ‘impact players’ or ‘finishers’, this can and often does stretch to 46,” the letter reads.
“More than half a team can be changed and some players are not expected to last 80 minutes so train accordingly, prioritising power over aerobic capacity. This shapes the entire game leading to more collisions and in the latter stages numerous fresh ‘giants’ crashing into tiring opponents.
“The simple change we advocate is to allow eight subs on the bench if you must but limit the number that can be used to four and then only in the case of injury. This will make the game safer, a view supported by leading players and eminent members of the medical profession.”
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Nigel Owens calls for three huge changes after ‘difficult to watch’ Lions series
#1. Crooked feeds must go
Owens wrote in his column for The Telegraph: “Some of the scrum-feeds from both sides – particularly in the second half by Cobus Reinach – were beyond a joke.
“I must say that I have been as guilty of not giving enough free-kicks for crooked feeds as any referee, but it has to be stopped as soon as possible now. Scrum-halves simply have to put the ball into scrums in an acceptable manner.
“Everyone you speak to about it wants feeds to be straight. Brian Moore has been making the point for years and I agree with him. Everyone comments on it, and there is no excuse. It has been allowed to creep in, after a brief crackdown a couple of years ago.”