A 24-Man Squad?

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Post by Engine#4 on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 1:04 pm

Yesterday was the second match in a row that Ireland have finished the game with a scrumhalf on the wing.

Against New Zealand Henshaw (head), Sexton (hamstring) and Zebo (ribs) went off injured.
Against Australia Trimble (ankle?), Kearney (head) and Payne (back, ribs) had all departed by half time.
Kearney was also subject to RTP protocols after the NZ game.

Now you can argue the toss that the Irish management should not have played Kearney and Payne against Australia but the point is this-

The game is trying to promote player safety, particularly with regard to head injuries. Having only three backs, one of which is usually a scrumhalf, left on the bench when players are going off for HIA assessments left, right and centre does not exactly help this ambition.

Is it time for an extra back substitute on the bench? One who can only be called upon in situations whereby a teammate has gone off for a HIA and who can remain on if said teammate fails. To prevent abuse of the rule perhaps any player who fails a HIA should be automatically excluded from play for two weeks.

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Post by yappysnap on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 1:17 pm

Could happen.

Seems a lot of injuries for one team, is it more the players technique? Or the game plan is asking for a lot more tackling now.

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Post by profitius on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 1:51 pm

24 man squad BUT only allow 5 subs. Maybe 6 if they lose 2 players in the first half.
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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 2:36 pm

yappysnap wrote:Could happen.

Seems a lot of injuries for one team, is it more the players technique? Or the game plan is asking for a lot more tackling now.

It's true - Irish players (for some reason that hasn't yet been fully explained or looked into closely enough by the media) tend to be more fragile in terms of sustaining themselves through series of high intensity games.  
We can shine in a game or two but seem to pay the price more than most in terms of central players getting injured.  Perhaps it's because of the gameplan we tend to play - high intensity breakdown activity for long stretches/trusting to rugged defending for long stretches of a game too.  We don't tend to offload out of trouble and impact nearly as much as other sides seem to but we do seem to attract attacking teams onto us with our ropy kicking game.  
Add it all up and it appears our players put themselves in the line of fire as regards personal injury risk at International level more than average.  Our gameplans appear to seek much contact where other sides might try to evade it more.

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Post by demosthenes on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 3:09 pm

Engine#4 wrote:  To prevent abuse of the rule perhaps any player who fails a HIA should be automatically excluded from play for two weeks.
This would have the opposite effect, in that there would be pressure on players / medical staff not to fail borderline cases and have key players ruled out for an extended period.

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Post by poissonrouge on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 3:28 pm

Against New Zealand Henshaw (head), Sexton (hamstring) and Zebo (ribs) went off injured.
Against Australia Trimble (ankle?), Kearney (head) and Payne (back, ribs) had all departed by half time.
Kearney was also subject to RTP protocols after the NZ game.
Also Stander against NZ.
I would bet that Trimble,Kearney and Payne were still "under the weather" after the All Blacks game - it was tough and that intensity is bound to leave some residue that will still be there 7 days later - so maybe their departure was a cumulative effect of 2 hard games (well one and a half I suppose)
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Post by aucklandlaurie on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 4:27 pm


Every country has injuries, you just have to manage it.

Perhaps trainers could be used to provide the right contact in training, to harden up for the big battles.

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Post by wolfball on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 5:13 pm

SecretFly wrote:
yappysnap wrote:Could happen.

Seems a lot of injuries for one team, is it more the players technique? Or the game plan is asking for a lot more tackling now.

It's true - Irish players (for some reason that hasn't yet been fully explained or looked into closely enough by the media) tend to be more fragile in terms of sustaining themselves through series of high intensity games.  
We can shine in a game or two but seem to pay the price more than most in terms of central players getting injured.  Perhaps it's because of the gameplan we tend to play - high intensity breakdown activity for long stretches/trusting to rugged defending for long stretches of a game too.  We don't tend to offload out of trouble and impact nearly as much as other sides seem to but we do seem to attract attacking teams onto us with our ropy kicking game.  
Add it all up and it appears our players put themselves in the line of fire as regards personal injury risk at International level more than average.  Our gameplans appear to seek much contact where other sides might try to evade it more.

I don't think that is true of Ireland statistically. First 25-30% of international rugby players are injured across the board at any one time (WR had a statement about it a year ago). We obviously notice it more as its our team, and yesterday was one of those freak days that I can never remember us having before (but recall wales having completely rejigged through injury backlines over the years). The issue was Payne/Kearney already had issues and Joe took a chance on them that failed in terms of them staying on the pitch, but he got lucky with a result in the end. The bigger issue is countries with smaller playing pools feel injuries more; thankfully we have more quality players coming though and its less an issue for us.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 5:26 pm

Ah God wolf.... of course we recognise it. We recognise it because it's pointed and real. We lost a batch of central players in one game during the world cup. We had numerous 6Ns spoiled by a sequence of injuries that left Joe bemoaning the loss of central players. When we lose on the personality front, we tend to lose big - three or four central boys over a two week phase can happen regularly enough to make it pointed. Then of course we have our collection of repeat offenders who seem to be always a mis-tackle away from another lengthy spell on the sidelines (Sexton/O'Brien/Earls/Healy.)

We play a very physical game. It's not a coincidence that the games Ireland are involved in always tend to get the taglines of being 'brutally physical' encounters. We play a hard contact game and we pay a price for not being more ready to attempt a more evasion style gameplan.

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Post by Pete C (Kiwireddevil) on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 5:30 pm

You could increase the bench by 1 more. But we all know that you'd just see teams carrying an extra back rower - the Aussies have been only picking 2 backs reserves for a lot of games this year. And having an extra forward would encourage even more collisions at tackle/breakdown.

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Post by wolfball on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 6:06 pm

SecretFly wrote:Ah God wolf.... of course we recognise it. We recognise it because it's pointed and real. We lost a batch of central players in one game during the world cup. We had numerous 6Ns spoiled by a sequence of injuries that left Joe bemoaning the loss of central players. When we lose on the personality front, we tend to lose big - three or four central boys over a two week phase can happen regularly enough to make it pointed. Then of course we have our collection of repeat offenders who seem to be always a mis-tackle away from another lengthy spell on the sidelines (Sexton/O'Brien/Earls/Healy.)

We play a very physical game. It's not a coincidence that the games Ireland are involved in always tend to get the taglines of being 'brutally physical' encounters. We play a hard contact game and we pay a price for not being more ready to attempt a more evasion style gameplan.

We played a different game in the world cup than our current gameplan no? Are both gameplans more physical than the average international teams game plans? Or, are our players MORE physical than the average international team and they are brutal physical encounters because positions have to raise their game to that level with us? You can take it both ways no? Do Wales play a more elusive game then us? Do South Africa? Of the top teams only Aus/NZ do. Argentina are back to boshing in the autumn at least. And most teams lose 3-4 central boys over the course of a series. I think our welsh and english friends can confirm... But lets say you are right; Ireland have unique injury issues what is the answer? We change game plan to what? (noting the success our current game plan has brought us)? We change our training to what? (noting the fitness of this irish team to finish out high profile games for the first time maybe ever)?

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Post by HongKongCherry on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 6:15 pm

There should be less subs. This would require players to focus on aerobic exercise rather than anaerobic, thus making the players fitter and lighter. This would in turn reduce the volume of injuries as we wouldn't have 17 stone backs running at each other!
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Post by Gwlad on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 6:19 pm

Disagree otherwise we'll end up with a 15 man bench. And having a scrum half on the wing worked for Wales at RWC.

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Post by Gwlad on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 6:23 pm

HongKongCherry wrote:There should be less subs. This would require players to focus on aerobic exercise rather than anaerobic, thus making the players fitter and lighter. This would in turn reduce the volume of injuries as we wouldn't have 17 stone backs running at each other!

this makes no sense

if they're fitter they can run faster and hit harder for longer. Its not just about the size of the back but their ability to transfer force by running at speed into the opposition. Daly weighs nothing but took out the Argentine and frankly could have caused a serious injury.

There is no way players will get smaller. In my opinion they will get bigger and more athletic thus causing more injuries. Slowly we are seeing the beginning of the end of the game as we know it. Once a clear link between concussion from contact and cognitive effect is established in rugby the litigation will begin and the game will face a fundamental review and change

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 6:27 pm

wolfball wrote:

We played a different game in the world cup than our current gameplan no? Are both gameplans more physical than the average international teams game plans? Or, are our players MORE physical than the average international team and they are brutal physical encounters because positions have to raise their game to that level with us? You can take it both ways no? Do Wales play a more elusive game then us? Do South Africa? Of the top teams only Aus/NZ do. Argentina are back to boshing in the autumn at least. And most teams lose 3-4 central boys over the course of a series. I think our welsh and english friends can confirm... But lets say you are right; Ireland have unique injury issues what is the answer? We change game plan to what? (noting the success our current game plan has brought us)? We change our training to what? (noting the fitness of this irish team to finish out high profile games for the first time maybe ever)?

We change our plan to more like what most other top sides play.  We increase our desire to stop sawing impotently over and back against impregnable defences.  We increase our rate of offloading.  I think the stat for yesterday was something like 16 offloads to Australia, 8 or so to us.  Now that's a rough guestimate based on memory and of course you'll remind me that Australia lost and we won.  I'll say back that it wasn't Australia's offloading rate that lost them the game or our relative lack of offloading that gave us the game.  

Offloading saves players from contact and also helps increase the tempo of attack - it also potentially saves some of the energy at present needed to hit contact at full blast and struggle to recycle. It allows players to avoid a hit rather than go rushing into hits (we all are familiar with the running joke about our fullback Kearney's creative methods - run into first contact and drop) and it potentially opens up  genuine evasion/running space.  If you keep hitting walls of opposition because contact is the name of the game, then let's not be surprised that we pick up the injuries.

It's there.  I just can't understand this notion, that you now champion here wolf, that we have a wonderful dynamic backline that can create runaround opportunities on a whim to save the workrate of our hard slogged forwards and to help cut down contact injuries.  
I just don't see it.  Our backs orientated attack is the most lifefless and blunt of the top seven or eight sides.  Yes - we're winning these great physical encounters - but we pay the price.  In general, we pay the price of our preferred gameplan. Our younger players (Carberry, Ringrose etc) seem to come with a different perspective and have the athleticism to show the willingness to evade. Let's hope with more younger players coming in, that desire feeds into our overall methods of attack.

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Post by robbo277 on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 7:47 pm

I'd be up for rugby reducing the number of tactical replacements down to 3. Injuries, blood and hia are all exempt from your 3 tactical subs.

After that, I'd be happy to increase the size of the bench if required. But I think these might just be the proximity of these two incidents, and I don't think it's a pervasive issue that's seriously affecting the game.

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Post by HongKongCherry on Sun 27 Nov 2016, 8:42 pm

Gwlad wrote:
HongKongCherry wrote:There should be less subs. This would require players to focus on aerobic exercise rather than anaerobic, thus making the players fitter and lighter. This would in turn reduce the volume of injuries as we wouldn't have 17 stone backs running at each other!

this makes no sense

if they're fitter they can run faster and hit harder for longer. Its not just about the size of the back but their ability to transfer force by running   at speed into the opposition. Daly weighs nothing but took out the Argentine and frankly could have caused a serious injury.

There is no way players will get smaller. In my opinion they will get bigger and more athletic thus causing more injuries. Slowly we are seeing the beginning of the end of the game as we know it. Once a clear link between concussion from contact and cognitive effect is established in rugby the litigation will begin and the game will face a fundamental review and change

To the contrary they will need to develop slow twitch muscles rather than fast twitch, ensuring they are leaner and fitter. Basic physics is force equals mass x acceleration; they'll be lighter and acceleration is likely to be less as they'll train for stamina, therefore less force in collision.

This has 0% chance of actually happening though as the sport well and truly has a gym monkey culture.
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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:30 am

I have no issue with bigger benches so long as ALL replacements can only be made for injury, and to be assessed by an independent medical expert. This should apply to all fully professional rugby.

I am in full agreement with HKC that we now have players hugely bulked up and asking guys to be able to play 80 minutes would see some of that bulk decrease.

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Post by wolfball on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:13 pm

SecretFly wrote:
wolfball wrote:

We played a different game in the world cup than our current gameplan no? Are both gameplans more physical than the average international teams game plans? Or, are our players MORE physical than the average international team and they are brutal physical encounters because positions have to raise their game to that level with us? You can take it both ways no? Do Wales play a more elusive game then us? Do South Africa? Of the top teams only Aus/NZ do. Argentina are back to boshing in the autumn at least. And most teams lose 3-4 central boys over the course of a series. I think our welsh and english friends can confirm... But lets say you are right; Ireland have unique injury issues what is the answer? We change game plan to what? (noting the success our current game plan has brought us)? We change our training to what? (noting the fitness of this irish team to finish out high profile games for the first time maybe ever)?

We change our plan to more like what most other top sides play.  We increase our desire to stop sawing impotently over and back against impregnable defences.  We increase our rate of offloading.  I think the stat for yesterday was something like 16 offloads to Australia, 8 or so to us.  Now that's a rough guestimate based on memory and of course you'll remind me that Australia lost and we won.  I'll say back that it wasn't Australia's offloading rate that lost them the game or our relative lack of offloading that gave us the game.  

Offloading saves players from contact and also helps increase the tempo of attack - it also potentially saves some of the energy at present needed to hit contact at full blast and struggle to recycle. It allows players to avoid a hit rather than go rushing into hits (we all are familiar with the running joke about our fullback Kearney's creative methods - run into first contact and drop) and it potentially opens up  genuine evasion/running space.  If you keep hitting walls of opposition because contact is the name of the game, then let's not be surprised that we pick up the injuries.

It's there.  I just can't understand this notion, that you now champion here wolf, that we have a wonderful dynamic backline that can create runaround opportunities on a whim to save the workrate of our hard slogged forwards and to help cut down contact injuries.  
I just don't see it.  Our backs orientated attack is the most lifefless and blunt of the top seven or eight sides.  Yes - we're winning these great physical encounters - but we pay the price.  In general, we pay the price of our preferred gameplan.  Our younger players (Carberry, Ringrose etc) seem to come with a different perspective and have the athleticism to show the willingness to evade.  Let's hope with more younger players coming in, that desire feeds into our overall methods of attack.

OUr gameplan is not perfect and I think you are reading too much into what I said if you think I am championing anything. But lifeless? We have been scoring trys all season. Some great trys (one won a prize)... I just don't think the facts of our scorelines and the development of our game shows a team that 1. has more injuries than others 2. is less creative than all but the top 2-3 teams. I want us to do more offloads, but I do not think offloads will reduce our injury toll . I think our finishing is that of a top 8 team at best. Our skill within 5m of the tryline is dire. That's where we need to do alot of work. But our ability to get into that position is not lacking at all.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:29 pm

wolfball wrote:

OUr gameplan is not perfect and I think you are reading too much into what I said if you think I am championing anything. But lifeless? We have been scoring trys all season. Some great trys (one won a prize)... I just don't think the facts of our scorelines and the development of our game shows a team that 1. has more injuries than others 2. is less creative than all but the top 2-3 teams. I want us to do more offloads, but I do not think offloads will reduce our injury toll . I think our finishing is that of a top 8 team at best. Our skill within 5m of the tryline is dire. That's where we need to do alot of work. But our ability to get into that position is not lacking at all.

It takes tremendous levels of punching energy to get us there. That's why we've become so good at it. Of course it's effective. Of course it gets us points and it tends to win us a percentage of mostly Close games. But again, it's not rocket science when you go over the descriptions of games involving Ireland: "punishing intensity", "brutally physical", "real test rugby", "Scary levels of physicality" to admit that we do things our way. These are the kinds of comments that mostly follow in the wake of Irish games - and nope, that kind of language doesn't always follow other sides. Hansen said the last Dublin encounter with us was one of the toughest physical contests he's witnessed in quite a while. It can get wins but it is boxing match stuff many times.

So it's the energy required, the contact levels needed and the injury risks that it quite obviously highlights that is my continuing point about our backs and the version of attack rugby they play/have been coached to play. Avoiding contact for minutes of a game does incrementally help drive down the potential for impact injuries. It just does.


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Post by wolfball on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:35 pm

SecretFly wrote:
wolfball wrote:

OUr gameplan is not perfect and I think you are reading too much into what I said if you think I am championing anything. But lifeless? We have been scoring trys all season. Some great trys (one won a prize)... I just don't think the facts of our scorelines and the development of our game shows a team that 1. has more injuries than others 2. is less creative than all but the top 2-3 teams. I want us to do more offloads, but I do not think offloads will reduce our injury toll . I think our finishing is that of a top 8 team at best. Our skill within 5m of the tryline is dire. That's where we need to do alot of work. But our ability to get into that position is not lacking at all.

It takes tremendous levels of punching energy to get us there.  That's why we've become so good at it.  Of course it's effective.  Of course it gets us points and it tends to win us a percentage of mostly Close games.  But again, it's not rocket science when you go over the descriptions of games involving Ireland: "punishing intensity", "brutally physical", "real test rugby", "Scary levels of physicality" to admit that we do things our way.  These are the kinds of comments that mostly follow in the wake of Irish games - and nope, that kind of language doesn't always follow other sides.  Hansen said the last Dublin encounter with us was one of the toughest physical contests he's witnessed in quite a while.  It can get wins but it is boxing match stuff many times.

So it's the energy required, the contact levels needed and the injury risks that it quite obviously highlights that is my continuing point about our backs and the version of attack rugby they play/have been coached to play.  Avoiding contact for minutes of a game does incrementally help drive down the potential for impact injuries.  It just does.


It might come down to style preferences between us then. I want Ireland to be a brutally physical side. Its how I played rugby, and its great to watch. But I do not think Ireland is that side, I see us with alot more guile than you do maybe. its the combination of guile and physicality that will make us a top team.

I love how Lam has Connacht play alotof the time, but some brutal physicality is missing; the sort that wins tight games. Ireland is developing that as they are also developing backline moves and offloading. We went from 1 offload/match to 7-10. More is needed, but our skillset is still developing in that direction. I do 100% agree with you that the game we played in and on the leadup to the RWC was stupid physical; kick ball away and make tackles all day long. Now other teams need to tackle us. Progress OK

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:47 pm

wolfball wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
wolfball wrote:

OUr gameplan is not perfect and I think you are reading too much into what I said if you think I am championing anything. But lifeless? We have been scoring trys all season. Some great trys (one won a prize)... I just don't think the facts of our scorelines and the development of our game shows a team that 1. has more injuries than others 2. is less creative than all but the top 2-3 teams. I want us to do more offloads, but I do not think offloads will reduce our injury toll . I think our finishing is that of a top 8 team at best. Our skill within 5m of the tryline is dire. That's where we need to do alot of work. But our ability to get into that position is not lacking at all.

It takes tremendous levels of punching energy to get us there.  That's why we've become so good at it.  Of course it's effective.  Of course it gets us points and it tends to win us a percentage of mostly Close games.  But again, it's not rocket science when you go over the descriptions of games involving Ireland: "punishing intensity", "brutally physical", "real test rugby", "Scary levels of physicality" to admit that we do things our way.  These are the kinds of comments that mostly follow in the wake of Irish games - and nope, that kind of language doesn't always follow other sides.  Hansen said the last Dublin encounter with us was one of the toughest physical contests he's witnessed in quite a while.  It can get wins but it is boxing match stuff many times.

So it's the energy required, the contact levels needed and the injury risks that it quite obviously highlights that is my continuing point about our backs and the version of attack rugby they play/have been coached to play.  Avoiding contact for minutes of a game does incrementally help drive down the potential for impact injuries.  It just does.


It might come down to style preferences between us then. I want Ireland to be a brutally physical side. Its how I played rugby, and its great to watch. But I do not think Ireland is that side, I see us with alot more guile than you do maybe. its the combination of guile and physicality that will make us a top team.

I love how Lam has Connacht play alotof the time, but some brutal physicality is missing; the sort that wins tight games. Ireland is developing that as they are also developing backline moves and offloading. We went from 1 offload/match to 7-10. More is needed, but our skillset is still developing in that direction. I do 100% agree with you that the game we played in and on the leadup to the RWC was stupid physical; kick ball away and make tackles all day long. Now other teams need to tackle us. Progress OK

I'm all for the Munster way.  I love rugby.  Rugby is about all of it.  I've fought against this tide a while back to virtually 'League-ise' rugby union (getting rid of the bits that slow the game down).  

I want it all. The rucks, the breakdown, the lineouts and then the beauty.  I love when it's a lovely mix of all flavours.  Now call me greedy, wolf.... but I want us to evolve the beauty bit now.  We've had long enough getting the basics right.  And it's getting us these significant wins.  But I'm greedy - I feel  about 10% more 'purist' back attack profiles (Connacht style/old Leinster style) and the scorelines don't go down, they go up.  I want us to push our dominance in a certain gameplan right now by adding to it - consistently.
Australia are a great side to watch.  I loved them in the WC.  They gave it everything.  The met the heavy stuff with heavy stuff and then showed wonderful gazelle stuff.  That's what I want - I'm greedy.
Plus - I still say it'll preserve our players better.... Whistle  Two birds, one stone.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 4:10 pm

LondonTiger wrote:I have no issue with bigger benches so long as ALL replacements can only be made for injury, and to be assessed by an independent medical expert. This should apply to all fully professional rugby.

I am in full agreement with HKC that we now have players hugely bulked up and asking guys to be able to play 80 minutes would see some of that bulk decrease.

Unworkable I'm afraid!

If a coach wants to make a "tactical" sub, the message just goes out for a player to come up from a ruck and say they've goosed a knee.  The independent examiner would poke it and say "is that sore" with "Yes" being the answer given by the player. 

Another issue with increasing the number of subs is that "lesser" teams would be further disadvantaged by not having the same number of quality players to pick from!
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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 10:45 am

Yes a bigger bench is a terrible idea.
HKC is right that there is an increasingly gym monkey culture in the game now and anyone under 6' is too short for anywhere on the team - not because height is that big a deal but rather that's the minimum frame needed to carry the weight required. This trend undoubtedly increases injuries especially to smaller players. Those countries with loads of players to select from can replace good big-uns with more good big-uns so having bigger benches undoubtedly gives the teams with large player pools another advantage.

The great thing about an 8 man bench is that there is far more opportunity to wean young players into teams, but increasing it further is just going to devalue caps further and potentially the spectator experience. Ideally there should be no more than say 3 forwards and 2 backs on the bench, but allow any substituted player to come back on for any player injured off the pitch.

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Post by Gooseberry on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 10:57 am

There was a research paper a while vback that discussed the impact that increasing use of replacements was having on actually increasing rather than descreasing serious injury rates.

Not only does it mean you have fresh players playing aginst knackered ones, but it also encourages players to play harder and push themsleves to the limits early in the game knowing they are coming off and encourages the devleopment of explosive fitness and styles (bigger impacts) over endurance.

It got pretty much chucked in the bin but you shouldnt ignore the arguments there.


The other way is to fundamentaly change the make up of the game and look at American sports which pretty universally allow rolling benches and pretty much unlimited substitutions throughout a game. Quite how that would pan out for rugby Im not sure, and it woudl always favour the big teams/nations who can afford lots of specilists and who have depth of professional quality players ...so I dont see it as a viable thing really.

Maybe backs need to just stop being such pansies.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 12:10 pm

Link?

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Post by GunsGermsV2 on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 1:33 pm

I watched Leinster v New Zealand in 1989 yesterday on youtube. it was the first Leinster game I have ever attended. The first thing you notice when you watch it is there is way less emphasis on impact and collisions. The game has changed so much in that respect that I think that player safety should be a concern.

By the way it is an interesting watch. Warren Gatland was playing hooker, Frano Botica out half, Inga the winga on one wing. Neil Francis, Nick Popplewell, Brian Smith, Fergus Aherne and some other Ireland players featured for Leinster.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 29 Nov 2016, 1:38 pm

GunsGermsV2 wrote:I watched Leinster v New Zealand in 1989 yesterday on youtube. it was the first Leinster game I have ever attended. The first thing you notice when you watch it is there is way less emphasis on impact and collisions. The game has changed so much in that respect that I think that player safety should be a concern.

By the way it is an interesting watch. Warren Gatland was playing hooker, Frano Botica out half, Inga the winga on one wing. Neil Francis, Nick Popplewell, Brian Smith, Fergus Aherne and some other Ireland players featured for Leinster.

Remind us of the score there when you're at it, Guns?

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