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Nigel Owens Calls for Fewer Substitutions

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Post by 123456789. on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 1:17 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51200652

In a nutshell Nigel Owens argues that fewer substitutions will lead to a safer sport because players will have to be fitter to go for longer, meaning they will be smaller and more agile rather than being larger to look to go over their opponent. I think there's some credence in the argument and is perhaps an avenue to go down. It would have to be done sensibly though; a system that allows says three tactical substitutions with more allowed for injuries and an independent Doctor to assess dubious injuries. Other ideas (these are mine now not Nigels) in that area could be extending the professional games by ten minutes for example.

On the other hand I'm not convinced that all players aren't conditioned to be fit for eighty minutes regardless, after all, the flip side to the injuries argument is there's no way of knowing which players are going to be on the pitch for eighty minutes. What's more players are conditioned primarily by their clubs. The players that play twenty minutes for their international sides tend to be eighty minute men for their club sides. We see no fewer injuries at international level than at the top club level.

In short, is Nigel right on the substitutions issue?

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 2:23 pm

Something that different people say regularly.

Personally I would love to go back to only replacements for injuries - but even with independent doctors that would be "gamed" by sides.

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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 2:37 pm

Sir (Nigel) is always right.

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 2:42 pm

Great idea in principle. In practice you still have the odd Billy V - huge and keeps going all day.

You also have to resolve what you are doing with front row players. I know we don't have so many scrums these days but asking props to be lighter and fitter and still withstand scrums is hard.

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Post by Noble-Surfer on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 2:59 pm

I don't think the current rate/ severity of injuries sustained by players can necessarily be (solely) attributed to each individual player's fitness.

Yes, it will likely be a factor, but I think that by far the bigger factor is professionalism. In my opinion, this has had repercussions on player injuries in a number of ways:

1. Players are now professional athletes. As such they have much more time/ money/ information thrown at them in order to train at this level.

In amateur days, players had day jobs, and could only work on their fitness, strength & conditioning, etc at evenings/ on weekends/ in their own time. Now this is part of their day-to-day job, and they have other professionals researching & instructing them in how to do it better, so that they reach their peak physical condition. This has resulted in bigger/ fitter/ stronger players than in amateur days, and has obviously increased the phyiscal demands on players' bodies- both in their own performance, but also at collision time.

You could compare this to amateur vs professional boxing- the differences between amateur boxers & professional boxers are huge in terms of size, strength, fitness, etc.

2. The number of games played.

The number of games in a season is now much greater than it used to be. Combined with the greater physicality of the game, this means greater demand on players' bodies, both in increase of workload, and decrease of recovery time between games.



Sport is competitive, and as such, fewer substitutions would, in my opinion, lead to greater risk for players, because every coach is going to want their best players playing as often/ for as long as they can, meaning they are more likely to risk them when injured, etc, if they don't have the same level of flexibiility with regard to substitutions.

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Post by 123456789. on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 3:11 pm

lostinwales wrote:Great idea in principle. In practice you still have the odd Billy V - huge and keeps going all day.

You also have to resolve what you are doing with front row players. I know we don't have so many scrums these days but asking props to be lighter and fitter and still withstand scrums is hard.

Alisdair Dickinson and Allan Dell are two smaller props that have done alright, I suppose the view would be that props would become proportionately lighter and fitter but so would the second and back-rows meaning the scrums themselves would become lighter and quicker. Perhaps closer to the scrums of the amateur days.

On the matter of injury substitutions I fully agree as an ideal but there's two or three issues that spring to mind. Firstly, the clubs would moan. Why send your players of not to play? The other issue being the reaction if a Doctor determined that a player was not injured and was sent back on to become more injured. What constitutes a game ending injury? There's also the tactical element. There is a benefit to the viewer if one team has got it's tactics completely wrong and the game is going in one way. Say come the Lions tour Sexton is picked to start at fly-half and the Lions struggle to create anything against the Boks, if Russell is on the bench there's the chance that the game can be shifted entirely.

Perhaps the route to go down is three front rows (for safety reasons) and two further substitutes on the bench. That would probably in turn change the size of front rows without compromising their size. You'd need more players like, for example, Fraser Brown who can cover flanker and hooker. Likewise the second-rows on the bench would be more of the Nakarawa mould, in that he can cover the number eight and blindside. The downside being the product would be completely diminished if both the 9 and 10 became injured or both wings or both second rows. Although perhaps that would result in less proscribed play and more versatile players conditioned for general ability rather than specific skill sets.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 3:15 pm

Noble-Surfer wrote:I don't think the current rate/ severity of injuries sustained by players can necessarily be (solely) attributed to each individual player's fitness.

2. The number of games played.

The number of games in a season is now much greater than it used to be. Combined with the greater physicality of the game, this means greater demand on players' bodies, both in increase of workload, and decrease of recovery time between games.

I admit that there are more internationals played now and at a much higher intensity than in days of yore. Back in the 60s it was pretty common for guys to play 40+ matches per season (in an 8 month season too!!!)

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Post by tigertattie on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 3:28 pm

Sorry Nige but this is nonsense.

1. How would even an independant doctor know if a player genuinley had a sore knee or was simply saying he had a sore knee at 55 mins?

"is it sore when I bend it this way"
"arghhhhhh, yes it is"
"ok you better come off"

Any doctor worth his training would never over-rule a player saying they were injured or in pain. A doctor would never say that you cant come off because I think you are faking it. If there is even the slightest chance that there is a real injury there and playing on would make it worse, the Doctor is right in the doo doo.

2. Theres studies to say that players would continue to "bulk up" and hit harder even if they had to last 80 mins. The theory is that if you are bigger and stronger than your opponent then you will tire them out quicker making them try and stop you. You use your size to knacker your opponent before you knacker yourself.

What this can then lead to is huge big hulking players running around on an empty tank and they cant be subbed. Then the tired player makes a tired tackle and either hurts themself or thier opponent becuase they are too knackered to carry out an effective and safe tackle!

We also need to remember that rugby is brutal and you'd get to a stage where teams are trying to injur players knowing that some poor winger would need to play on with one leg because they can't be subbed off.
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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 3:31 pm

The report from the bbc focuses on Owen's comments on subs but the main takr away should be that refs too often ignore the dangerous play at rucks.
A point Brian Moore has pointed out on the saracens fiasco is that player welfare wise having a lather squad allows better rest for players and thus better fitness and impact of injuries. Limited subs sounds a good idea however as Owens himself points out would need some detailed research to see intended vs actual outcome and not just on match squads.

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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 4:35 pm

If player welfare is an issue then maybe scrap the Italy game this 6 nations and allow the players to have a rest.

Would anyone miss them?
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Post by tigertattie on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 5:32 pm

TightHEAD wrote:If player welfare is an issue then maybe scrap the Italy game this 6 nations and allow the players to have a rest.

Would anyone miss them?

Scotland will. We don’t like getting the wooden spoon every year
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Post by 123456789. on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 5:40 pm

tigertattie wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:If player welfare is an issue then maybe scrap the Italy game this 6 nations and allow the players to have a rest.

Would anyone miss them?

Scotland will. We don’t like getting the wooden spoon every year

Would getting Italy, therefore, actually help Scotland in the long run?

I'm not sure any of the other Five Nations have been as consistently poor as we have over a 20 year period in the history of the tournament. Perhaps coming fifth and beating Italy has provided a safety net that's prevented us taking the radical and necessary action to improve.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 8:37 pm

Nigel is quite right.  Less subs means starters have to last longer.  But that doesn't kill off the age of the Orc necessarily.  
After all, small, agile whizz kids have a pair of lungs too; so depending on how methodically agile and fast they play, they can and do run out of puff themselves.  Now, being hit a few times by the few remaining monsters that a side might retain for necessary forward duties, that's going to cut down the battery time of the whizz kids even more.
And besides, as has already been said above, not so much a question of size with these big lads.... their real strength is that they actually do last the distance as big men.  They remain dynamic, dangerous and basterdes right close to the full 80.  So the real change in the level of danger supplied by big men is that they actually don't tire as quickly as the big lads in ye olden days.

Nigel is also quite wrong - to be nosing himself into subjects he should  be remaining neutral on.  Wait til he retires before deciding to have a go on what the make up of a team should be; after all, you'd never hear players or coaches getting involved in what refs should be doing on the field.......do ya?

Well.....?

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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 8:52 pm

Nige is setting himself up for the last big hurrah. He won't go quietly. He wants a stage. And the perfect time is in the last few minutes of the England Scotland match where a last minute penalty could decide things. There'll be lots of consultation with TMOs, clock ticking, fans baying, players waving their arms, and Nige will turn and say - do you know what?

I'm off.

Nige exists stage left. Internet explodes. The end.
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Post by SecretFly on Wed 22 Jan 2020, 8:56 pm

Bilbo Owens. Yes, there are similarities in character.

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Post by Old Man on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 5:33 am

Others have also called for less subs, keeping 8 subs on the bench but only permittedto use half.

I think this whole idea stems from the 6/2 bench of the Boks during the RC.

Not wanting teams (Boks) to field two superior tight fives.

It seems Nigel and the others want to eliminate the tactical use of a bench.

The bench was increased to eight to improve players management initially, and to add the extra front rower.

Now under the guise of player safety this nonsense comes up.

Ridiculous

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 5:59 am

Cant see how it's about south africa. Any team can use a 6 2 split on the bench and many have prior to the world cup. You also see teams having to put forwards in midfield so hardly a complete solution anyway.

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Post by profitius on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 1:36 pm

tigertattie wrote:Sorry Nige but this is nonsense.

1. How would even an independant doctor know if a player genuinley had a sore knee or was simply saying he had a sore knee at 55 mins?

"is it sore when I bend it this way"
"arghhhhhh, yes it is"
"ok you better come off"

Any doctor worth his training would never over-rule a player saying they were injured or in pain. A doctor would never say that you cant come off because I think you are faking it. If there is even the slightest chance that there is a real injury there and playing on would make it worse, the Doctor is right in the doo doo.

2. Theres studies to say that players would continue to "bulk up" and hit harder even if they had to last 80 mins. The theory is that if you are bigger and stronger than your opponent then you will tire them out quicker making them try and stop you. You use your size to knacker your opponent before you knacker yourself.

What this can then lead to is huge big hulking players running around on an empty tank and they cant be subbed. Then the tired player makes a tired tackle and either hurts themself or thier opponent becuase they are too knackered to carry out an effective and safe tackle!

We also need to remember that rugby is brutal and you'd get to a stage where teams are trying to injur players knowing that some poor winger would need to play on with one leg because they can't be subbed off.

1. Have, say 8, players on the bench as usual but you're only allowed to sub 5. That would mean almost all players would need to be 80 min players. Bad for a lot of Pacific islanders.

2. That's the point. Huge, hulking players will be a liability so they will have to slim down.
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Post by profitius on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 2:47 pm

Old Man wrote:Others have also called for less subs, keeping 8 subs on the bench but only permittedto use half.

I think this whole idea stems from the 6/2 bench of the Boks during the RC.

Not wanting teams (Boks) to field two superior tight fives.

It seems Nigel and the others want to eliminate the tactical use of a bench.

The bench was increased to eight to improve players management initially, and to add the extra front rower.

Now under the guise of player safety this nonsense comes up.

Ridiculous


We've been discussing it on here for years.


I think its ridiculous that teams can bring on almost a new fresh pack of forwards. It's not far off American football.
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Post by Soul Requiem on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 3:05 pm

Old Man wrote:Others have also called for less subs, keeping 8 subs on the bench but only permittedto use half.

I think this whole idea stems from the 6/2 bench of the Boks during the RC.

Not wanting teams (Boks) to field two superior tight fives.

It seems Nigel and the others want to eliminate the tactical use of a bench.

The bench was increased to eight to improve players management initially, and to add the extra front rower.

Now under the guise of player safety this nonsense comes up.

Ridiculous

This has been spoken about for years and makes a lot of sense.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 23 Jan 2020, 4:04 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Something that different people say regularly.
Yes, Guscott says it all the time. Serge Blanco said it over 10 years ago.

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Post by Old Man on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 6:37 am

profitius wrote:
Old Man wrote:Others have also called for less subs, keeping 8 subs on the bench but only permittedto use half.

I think this whole idea stems from the 6/2 bench of the Boks during the RC.

Not wanting teams (Boks) to field two superior tight fives.

It seems Nigel and the others want to eliminate the tactical use of a bench.

The bench was increased to eight to improve players management initially, and to add the extra front rower.

Now under the guise of player safety this nonsense comes up.

Ridiculous


We've been discussing it on here for years.


I think its ridiculous that teams can bring on almost a new fresh pack of forwards. It's not far off American football.

How is it ridiculous?

8 subs has been around for some time, every coach has his own tactics.

The extra front row has been around ever since the subs were increased from 7 to 8. which meant every team had to have an extra front row.

As for the second row every team will have an extra lock on their bench and at least an extra back row player, which gives you 5 players in the pack as a standard selection.

Going for anextra lock instead of 3 back line players is literally one extra forward from the norm.

Due it the success Rassie had with his 6/2 split on the bench it has now all of a sudden become an issue.

That is what is ridiculous about this suggestion.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 7:08 am

But as pointed put south africa havent pioneered this and the suggestion was around before the world cup.

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Post by Old Man on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 7:49 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:But as pointed put south africa havent pioneered this and the suggestion was around before the world cup.

Yes, I agree it has been used before, however more people are now vocal about it.

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Post by Cyril on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 8:01 am

It’s been discussed for years. Nothing directly related to SA’s World Cup (which, let’s face it, was very much a final where they pulled out one massive performance against under -performing opposition).

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 8:08 am

Really? Nigel Owen's has piggy backed a different point but I havent seen more people back him than when its come up before. Cant see that it anyway more connected to south africa than it is England when people pull out the size of the vunipolas (and ignore the fact that they are both 80 minute players).

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 8:20 am

Old Man wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:But as pointed put south africa havent pioneered this and the suggestion was around before the world cup.

Yes, I agree it has been used before, however more people are now vocal about it.

Seriously, Serge Blanco first suggested cutting substitutes around 2001. More people are vocal now, because more people have been vocal every year for the last two decades. I don't think it has anything to do with South Africa's 6:2 bench in the World Cup. One of the main reasons to call for fewer subs, is so players get tired on the pitch, and defences get stretched. In that respect, I reckon South Africa's win in 2007 probably did more to boost calls for fewer subs than last year's tournament because there were concerns about overall entertainment value.

The only real change from twenty years ago, is that some pundits are also concerned about injury rates, as the average size of players has continued to increase. The idea now, is that not only will larger players find it harder to keep defending if asked to stay on the pitch for longer, but they will find it difficult to keep putting in the kind of hits which cause injuries.


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Post by Dollar Bill on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 11:28 am

This is common sense, but the real reason it will never happen is that it suits the Countries with a large player pool, and the clubs with deep pockets.

Countries with less depth can generally put out a decent first XV, but struggle when they have to go to the bench, whereas the Boks, English, French, AB’s etc can strengthen their side when the “ finishers” come on.

Suits the big boys fine and turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

In the club game it’s the same, and actually contributes to wage inflation... Sarries, Toulon et al paying International players enormous salaries to ride the pine for an hour then come on for the last 20.

Again, suits those with the deepest pockets and they control the game

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Post by Old Man on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 2:44 pm

Explain to me how the reducing the bench is going to affect the three compulsory front row players?

World rugby brought the law in that you must have an entire front row available on the bench to ensure contestable scrums at all times.

That takes care of three subs

So that suggests it doesn't provide much leeway for tactical subs which completely negates a big part of the coach's influence

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 4:21 pm

Old Man wrote:Explain to me how the reducing the bench is going to affect the three compulsory front row players?
The ideal is that the three front row players on the bench are only allowed to come on in the event of injury or yellow card replacement i.e. no tactical substitutions.

Back in the day, injury replacements were not that common unless the player going off could no longer walk. Even as recently as 2010, Chris Ashton was knocked out cold against South Africa at Twickenham but was still kept on the pitch, despite never having a clue where he was. It's only really over the last 10 years that the art of tactical substitutions has been developed. Times have changed, and I can't reallly see any way you can stop someone faking an injury to get replaced. Clermont did it last weekend.

Perhaps you could legislate that any player who comes off for a injury must miss the next two or three games. If the injury is genuine, then those matches would be missed anyway. If the player is faking, then the team has to consider the value of trying to compete in one match versus losing a squad player for several others. The only downside would be if a player tried to carry on, and made the injury worse, to avoid being substituted.


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Post by 123456789. on Fri 24 Jan 2020, 5:13 pm

The complications come further down the line though. Say Ireland and Italy are both in with a shout of a grand slam on the fourth week of the Six Nations. Sixty minutes into the game, Ireland are 20 points up, home and hosed, an Italian back row smacks Sexton with a late cheap shot but they've already used their 3 substitutions. He could play on but at the risk of further injury causing him to miss the decider against France the following week. Does he qualify as injured?
I suppose you could say that it's the same in football and that they cope alright.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 9:48 am

I think in this age there is a bit of an addiction to complicating issues as it's in the added complexities that 'good stuff' gets discussed and debated.  
Just as 123 and others here allude to, can't we all guess the level of intrigue and downright debating fire-shows that would take place on sites such as this,and in the wider media world, on such decisions taken in games about who gets substituted and why.  A whole new anorak section for the eternally never-satisfied to go through with the fine tooth comb and video footage: 'Sexton was clearly injured, you can see he looks out of sorts in that shot at 33.52." - "Sexton was fine.  He was screaming at the ref just seconds before being subbed.  It's a scam!  Ireland are abusing the subs rules.  They weren't meant for this.  This means war!"

So....for some... a whole new delicious debating channel.  For others, more needless, boring wiffle waffle by habitual hot heads.

My solution therefore would be to simplify rather than to complicate.  Let's face it, what Nigel and others mean when they bring up this topic is a heavy suggestion that less BIG players should be allowed play.  So the topic already infers a bias against BIG men - in the interests of safety and 'the game'.  There may be an obvious Whistle there after such pronouncements, but that's the basic premise.

So, rather than being messy about numbers on a subs bench verses numbers that can be used from a bench divided by genuine injury etc etc....; why no just have a specified, allowed, sanctioned combined maximum weight per 23.  
Such a common weight restriction would be averaged out to ensure no one team could have a continuing sequence of Massive men either on the field at one time or taking to the field later as subs.  And if a certain team insisted on keeping Big men on the field, they'd be forced to choose more diminutive players elsewhere to keep within team weight restrictions.
That means there would be no avenue for debate about subs used and why. Teams would be free to use their subs any way they like within the current rules.  But for every extra BIG man they wanted, they'd have to choose less meaty players who themselves would then be at risk of being roughed up by the opposition's BIG men.  Equatable Balance throughout teams would I feel be the inevitable consequence.
Certain players might be sacrificed to the new restrictions - but as I already say, that's basically the debate anyway, to lessen the numbers of BIG players playing the game.

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Post by profitius on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 1:58 pm

123456789. wrote:The complications come further down the line though. Say Ireland and Italy are both in with a shout of a grand slam on the fourth week of the Six Nations. Sixty minutes into the game, Ireland are 20 points up, home and hosed, an Italian back row smacks Sexton with a late cheap shot but they've already used their 3 substitutions. He could play on but at the risk of further injury causing him to miss the decider against France the following week. Does he qualify as injured?
I suppose you could say that it's the same in football and that they cope alright.


3 subs would be too few because of the possibility of getting more than 3 injuries. 5 subs would be ideal imo. Have 8 on the bench and be allowed select 5.
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Post by Old Man on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 3:41 pm

SecretFly wrote:I think in this age there is a bit of an addiction to complicating issues as it's in the added complexities that 'good stuff' gets discussed and debated.  
Just as 123 and others here allude to, can't we all guess the level of intrigue and downright debating fire-shows that would take place on sites such as this,and in the wider media world, on such decisions taken in games about who gets substituted and why.  A whole new anorak section for the eternally never-satisfied to go through with the fine tooth comb and video footage: 'Sexton was clearly injured, you can see he looks out of sorts in that shot at 33.52." - "Sexton was fine.  He was screaming at the ref just seconds before being subbed.  It's a scam!  Ireland are abusing the subs rules.  They weren't meant for this.  This means war!"

So....for some... a whole new delicious debating channel.  For others, more needless, boring wiffle waffle by habitual hot heads.

My solution therefore would be to simplify rather than to complicate.  Let's face it, what Nigel and others mean when they bring up this topic is a heavy suggestion that less BIG players should be allowed play.  So the topic already infers a bias against BIG men - in the interests of safety and 'the game'.  There may be an obvious Whistle there after such pronouncements, but that's the basic premise.

So, rather than being messy about numbers on a subs bench verses numbers that can be used from a bench divided by genuine injury etc etc....; why no just have a specified, allowed, sanctioned combined maximum weight per 23.  
Such a common weight restriction would be averaged out to ensure no one team could have a continuing sequence of Massive men either on the field at one time or taking to the field later as subs.  And if a certain team insisted on keeping Big men on the field, they'd be forced to choose more diminutive players elsewhere to keep within team weight restrictions.
That means there would be no avenue for debate about subs used and why. Teams would be free to use their subs any way they like within the current rules.  But for every extra BIG man they wanted, they'd have to choose less meaty players who themselves would then be at risk of being roughed up by the opposition's BIG men.  Equatable Balance throughout teams would I feel be the inevitable consequence.
Certain players might be sacrificed to the new restrictions - but as I already say, that's basically the debate anyway, to lessen the numbers of BIG players playing the game.

Limiting the weight of a squad is an excellent idea.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 3:49 pm

Post-Christmas fixtures might see some radical squad restructuring if there was a weight limit.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 4:40 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:Post-Christmas fixtures might see some radical squad restructuring if there was a weight limit.
I think that's mostly extra liquid weight (say it quietly, there's Scots about!). But should be easily managed by a crash course of diuretics and a spell in the drunk tank.

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Post by Brendan on Sat 25 Jan 2020, 5:11 pm

I do think having x number of subs and they can all come on isn't great. I much prefer the soccer approach of you have 5/6 can bring on 3.

If a player gets injuries you just lose a player, or he stays on covering a small area. In rugby you could just limit the injuries to players who have been subs already if all your subs have been used.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Mon 27 Jan 2020, 12:04 am

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2020/01/26/exclusive-bill-beaumont-eyes-trial-return-injury-only-replacements/

Bill Beaumont, the World Rugby chairman, is backing the introduction of a trial law that would mean a return to replacements being used only for cover for injured players, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

The move is designed to improve player welfare by potentially reducing the intensity and impact of the physical collisions in the professional game.

Beaumont, who has announced his intention to stand for another four years as chairman, is concerned that the use of eight replacements for tactical reasons has turned the game into one increasingly dominated by “big people... and big hits”.

Beaumont, the former Rugby Football Union chairman who captained England to the 1980 Grand Slam, is keen to protect the game’s tradition of being a “game for all shapes and sizes” and is supporting a review of the use of replacements in conjunction with medical evidence.

Beaumont believes a return to the pre-1996 law, when replacements could be used only for verified injuries, could lead to a change in the body shape of professional players, create more space for attacking rugby and reduce the number of tackles, which is the cause of 50 per cent of injuries.

“I do worry that it has become a game for big people,” Beaumont said. “You have got players who only play for 50 minutes because of the use of substitutes. In the old days, in the last 20 minutes of the game it opened up because fatigue came into it. But fatigue doesn’t come into it now because teams just make wholesale changes.

“In the game between Northampton Saints and London Irish on Friday night, both sides just changed their props simultaneously. It is more about whose bench is more impactful.

“We need to look at it – not in a smoke-filled room, but do it in a proper trial and make sure that medical and player welfare is paramount. I just wonder if it would take the big hits out of the game.

“I do find it slightly disturbing at matches I go to when there is a bigger cheer when somebody gets cleaned out in a tackle than when someone scores a brilliant try. That is not the game of rugby that I was brought up to play in.

“It is an idea and we need to look at it in a controlled manner as opposed to an emotional one or someone writing on the back of a fag packet. You can only do it by trialling it and doing so at a top level, in conjunction with the medics.

“Player welfare is paramount and if you are injured, the player should come off. But do you look at saying, ‘Do we need a different shape of player?’

“We have to ensure we don’t become ‘reckless’ in what we do. We have to make the game as safe as we can and so players, whether it is in the community game or professional game, have longer careers and can enjoy the game.”

Beaumont, 67, said his decision to stand for another four years was based on support and his eagerness to implement “controlled and progressive” change to ensure that the sport continued to grow and meet global challenges. He has confirmed he is standing with French federation president Bernard Laporte as his candidate for vice-chairman.

It is not yet clear if Agustin Pichot, Beaumont’s vice-chairman for the past four years, is to stand against him at the elections at the World Rugby council in May.

Beaumont pledged to introduce a number of reforms as part of his manifesto, including a governance review for World Rugby to “sharpen it up”, with the idea of appointing two vice-chairmen to represent the northern and southern hemispheres and better representation of the game, increased funding for tier-two competitions and more meaningful matches for those countries outside of the Six Nations and Rugby Championship.

“I would be looking at significant increases in funding into the regional competitions,” Beaumont said. “If you look at Canada, a few players in Japan were playing in their third World Cup and only had around 16 caps. That is not right.

“So we have to look at the windows when they play, their availability and make sure they get more meaningful fixtures played at times when they can get their best players available, so you have the best against the best.”

He accepts that World Rugby has “learnt lessons” after having to abandon its plans for a Nations Championship last year, but insists dialogue will continue with all stakeholders about introducing a competition structure to the autumn Test matches, for tier-one and tier-two countries.

“There is a huge world out there that doesn’t play in the Six Nations or the Rugby Championship and we only see at a World Cup,” Beaumont said.

“At World Rugby, we need to look to see if by the 2027 World Cup we have 24 teams that are capable of competing. Fiji and Japan have already qualified for France in 2023 and what we have to do is look at funding so we can put money into regional competitions. The more teams that we have competitive, the more it is a global game and more attractive for people to play.”

Beaumont has also called for greater transparency about the future of the professional game, following the investment by private equity firm CVC in Premiership Rugby, Pro 14 and negotiations with the Six Nations.

“I think it is in everyone’s interests that there is openness and transparency,” he said. “Ten years ago, this [private equity investment] wouldn’t have happened, but the game is evolving and I think it is important that World Rugby are at the front of the change.

“We have to look at the global game because if we don’t have a global game, eventually there are global sports who are out there who will move into our markets.”

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