Eddie Jones has called for changes to the ‘archaic’ rules of having to name matchday squads 48 hours in advance. This comes after the Australian named his 23 to face Wales this Saturday in Llanelli, where he opted for a 6-2 split on the bench.
This is not too uncommon for Jones, particularly since former South Africa forwards coach Matt Proudfoot joined his staff after the 2019 World Cup, but it is still a fairly unorthodox approach when compared to most other countries (the Springboks being an exception).
But Jones said that he wants to do away with the rule of naming a team in advance while speaking to Chris Jones on BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday. He instead would rather coaches were able to name their starting XV on the day of the match.
He said: “It is very much a 23 man squad. I think the rules of naming a starting XV and a finishing eight is quite archaic and we should just be allowed to name the squad of 23 and then pick on the day who starts and who finishes.
“It would add a bit more drama to the game. I think it would be really good, two hours before kick-off the name sheets are provided and you know who you’re playing against.”
Rugby is one of the few sports where teams must be named so far in advance, and Jones clearly wants to move down the route of football, where starting XIs are named just an hour before kick-off.
This would only fall into the hands of a coach like Jones, who has a penchant for unconventional approaches. Having to name a team so far in advance potentially diminishes the effectiveness of his machinations, as the opposition has time to prepare.
Already this autumn there has been talk by the English coach of ‘hybrid’ players, which could see Ben Earl playing in the backs and Ollie Thorley in the pack. This is a familiar conversation for England fans though, as Jack Nowell was once fancied as a flanker by his coach.
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