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Forget 'finishers' - Harlequins have come up with a new name for the replacements bench

By Ian Cameron
England 'Game Changers' during the Rugby World Cup (Getty Images)

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When the RFU started to refer to those named on the replacements bench as ‘finishers’ it drew a collective groan in a sport that’s adverse to change at the best of times.

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It struck many as a heavy-handed way to rebrand what a term that many thought didn’t need changing.

In its defence, rugby union is no longer a game of fifteen versus fifteen, and the term ‘finishers’, although not to everyone’s taste, goes some way to better reflecting the increasing contribution to the game from a replacement.

Indeed it is no longer the norm for a frontrow forward to finish a game of professional rugby. Does that mean the frontrowers on the bench are really just replacements or are they the guys that get ‘tagged’ in the latter stage of a contest?

If ‘finishers’ wasn’t enough, some may have noticed that Harlequins have come up with a new euphemism for the replacement bench. Since the start of the season the club has been referring to them as ‘Game Changers’.

In a statement yesterday before the game with Worcester Harlequins noted a late change as such: “Ben Glynn is named as a Game Changer, replacing James Horwill who has failed a late fitness test.”

All match days squads replacements are now termed ‘Game Changers’ and it’s been in place since September.

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Is there room in the lexicon of rugby terminlogy for another more player friendly term for the replacements? Time will tell if this one really is a ‘game changer’.

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