Former England Centre Jeremy Guscott calls for key law change that would have stopped South Africa winning the RWC

Former England Centre Jeremy Guscott calls for key law change that would have stopped South Africa winning the RWC

Former England and Lions International Jeremy Guscott has outlined a way ahead for rugby to make the next World Cup an even greater spectacle after Japan's success in 2019.


The former Bath centre has called on World Rugby to restrict the number of replacements teams can use during a game from eight to three.

The Springboks' used their replacements superbly on their way to winning the Rugby World Cup with their famed 'bomb squad' of six forward replacements playing a major role in the competition, particularly in the knockouts.

But Guscott argues that the game would be better off with teams only being able to use just three replacements even though they could still have the same number of players sitting on the bench.

Writing in the Rugby Paper, the 65-times England centre, who also played eight Tests for the Lions, said: "The World Cup has left the game on a high and there should be a feelgood factor from the tournament in rugby nations around the globe.

"My only reservation is that it would be an even better sport if the bench was reduced in number. Half a team coming on with fresh legs and sharp minds against guys, who have been taken to the point of exhaustion, is pushing the game out of the realms of normality.



"We have got to make sure that Rugby Union remains a game in which skill and fitness are paramount - even though the fitness element has been eroded.

"A player like Alun Wyn Jones can go for 80 minutes, and so can Mako Vunipola, but there are a hell of a lot that cannot. The only problem is they are not made to pay the price.

"The game is great in many ways, but we should not be afraid to make it better. You could still have six or eight on the bench, but only be able to use three of them.

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