The Springboks almost raised eyebrows when they included seven forwards on their substitutes’ bench for the World Cup warm-up game against the All Blacks at Twickenham.
Although the decision was forced – after all, Willie le Roux was hit in the ribs in the run-up to the showdown – it worked like a bomb and the Boks’ forwards laid the foundation for their great victory of 35 – 7.
But while Matt Williams grumbles that the South Africans are abusing the substitutes’ bench and that World Rugby urgently needs to intervene, Drew Mitchell believes that the Springboks have come up with a clever tactic.
“People only complain because it worked. If things went wrong, no rooster would have crowed about it,” the former Wallabies winger tweeted.
And Eddie Jones seems to agree with him.
The 63-year-old coach praised the Boks for their innovative approach.
“Rugby is a game rich in tradition and a bench division of five forwards and three backs is closely watched. However, this does not mean that this is the only way to approach a game,” said Jones.
“If you rely on good forward play to win a game, why not include more of these players on your substitutes’ bench? South Africa deserve a pat on the back for their brave and fearless approach to the game.”