Clive Woodward has added his name to the chorus of high profile rugby figures looking for a reduction in the number of permitted replacements allowed in a match. 


World Cup 2015 final referee Nigel Owens recently endorsed a post-2019 World Cup suggestion by former England international Jeremy Guscott seeking a change to the law that allows up to eight replacements.  

Now 2003 World Cup winner Woodward has claimed the sport needs to get back to have as many 80-minute players as possible rather than the current satiation where more than half the starting XV can be tactically replaced. 

Speaking to Midi Olympique, the bi-weekly French rugby newspaper, Woodward said: “Rugby has always been a speed sport. I believe it hard as iron. When you have annihilated the things of combat and conquest, it is speed that makes all the difference. 

“When I see a ruck with a quick release and a scrum-half coming, putting his hand on the ball and looking around, I’m going crazy! 

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“Defences want slow ball – do not give it to them. You have to be able to push them for 80 minutes. Which means, too, that each of your players must be physically ready to play 80 minutes. All your three-quarters but also your forwards and your props.

“It’s basic, right? A match lasts 80 minutes. In which sport would we accept that a player, whoever he is, is incapable of playing a whole match? 

“Look at the English in the World Cup final: Kyle Sinckler was injured in the first action. Dan Cole had to play the whole game. How long had he been playing 80 minutes? 


“Because he is a prop, he is not considered to have a full match. This is how England found itself trapped,” said Woodward, who added that his pet World Cup hate was seeing too many box kicks. 

WATCH: RugbyPass looks back on some of our favourite moments with the fans at the 2019 World Cup in Japan

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