'World Rugby's just got to act': Ex coach calls for changes after Boks abuse law
By Rugby Onslaught

‘World Rugby’s just got to act’: Ex coach calls for changes after Boks abuse law

Former Scotland and Leinster coach Matt Williams might just have found a way to anger every single Springboks fan out there with his latest comments.

As a guest on Off the Ball this week after the final set of World Cup warm-ups, the Australian questioned South Africa’s decision to field seven forwards on their bench, and Jacques Nienaber’s further decision to unleash them all at once.

Nienaber initially named a 6-2 split on his bench, but a late injury to substitute fullback Willie le Roux led to the Boks calling up flanker Kwagga Smith and therefore naming a 7-1 split. The new look pack dominated the All Blacks even further when they came on in the second half at Twickenham.

After the Boks’ win, Williams has actually called for World Rugby to intervene and change the laws of rugby regarding substitutes, accusing the world champions of “abusing the bench”. Fair enough, changing the make-up of your bench an hour before kick-off could be seen as unfair, but this is a wild call from Williams nevertheless.

“It does concern you, especially when you look at the way the South Africans are just abusing the bench at the moment,” he said.

“The bench came in for safety reasons so people didn’t come on in positions they weren’t trained for so we didn’t have injuries- we weren’t putting back rowers in the front row, everything was done for a reason. They played seven off the bench. Seven forwards, really? Seriously? And World Rugby’s just got to act on this. The way you fix it is you say ‘you must have three recognised backs on your bench.’ And that stops it.

“But right now South Africa just changed the whole team, changed the whole pack. If they do that and we’re not up to scratch, they’ll be found out. So South Africa’s tactics are obvious now, and we have to be ready for it.”

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