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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.


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.


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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