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The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of World Cup 2023

Wales and England might regret stepping onto the coaching merry-go-round.

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The small detail that suggests Eddie Jones' era is well and truly over

By Ian Cameron
Steve Borthwick - PA

Eagled-eyed rugby fans will have spotted a small detail in the RFU’s press release in the first England matchday 23 of the new Steve Borthwick era.


In 2017 the now moved on Eddie Jones coined the phrase ‘finishers’ for the replacements bench. It was widely derided term at the time, one that simultaneously felt like a needless sop for non-starting players and the sort of fussy, corporate jargon that didn’t sit well in the sport.

Other sides used the term ‘game changers’.

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Old sparring partner Sir Clive Woodward wrote of the term last year: “Why is the game, and Jones particularly, obsessed with this concept of ‘finishers’? Please somebody enlighten me as I don’t understand it. Keep your best players on the park.”

To be fair to Jones, replacements are often always used in their entirety during a game and sometimes to dramatic effect. The idea that they are merely there to replace injured players is a nonsense and a strong bench can be the difference between victory and defeat. You need look no further than South Africa’s reliance to the 6-2 split on the bench to see that it isn’t just a case of gathering together the next best players. There’s nuance and strategy in there too.

Anyway, for those that noticed it, it’s a welcome return to the norm.

Rugby pundit and sports broadcaster Ian Stafford summed up the sentiment well on Twitter: “Do you know the biggest take away for me from the England squad named today to play Scotland. That we don’t have the “Finishers” nonsense anymore. We’re back to the XV and ‘replacements,” as it should be. You can’t kid anyone. Nobody prefers to be a “finisher” over a starter!”


Maybe it’s a signal that Borthwick is eager to close the chapter on his predecessor and return his England team to a more raw, altogether less de-constructed state.

Or it could mean absolutely nothing.


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