Super Rugby

Jake White calls for team announcements to be scrapped

Jake White (Gallo Images)
Jake White (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Jake White has suggested scrapping the rule which forces teams to announce their match-day squads at least 48 hours before kick-off.

Via column for All Out Rugby, White said the standard practice is pointless.

White's comments follow on the Lions' ploy last month to change their team line-up just before kick-off in a Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Springbok duo Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies were initially named on the bench but were added to the starting team shortly before kick-off.

The Lions won the game 23-17 and their CEO Rudolf Straeuli admitted afterwards that it was a deliberate ploy.

White wrote: "Rudolf Straeuli didn't make any friends in New Zealand last month when he pinned a surprise 23-17 win against the Chiefs on a late change to the team sheet. That got me thinking about why rugby teams are required to announce their match-day squads. What is the point?

"Only a few days prior to this Super Rugby match I was at Anfield to watch Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0. I really tried to soak up the full football experience, and part of that was mingling with the locals. What stood out on the day of the match was that a lot of the chat was about the line-up that each of the managers would field.

"The team lists were announced not long before kick-off and the locals drew a lot out of the combinations, the formation and who was on the bench. That’s a big part of the weekly intrigue for football supporters. As was the case for the Lions, I think that rugby would benefit greatly from scrapping the early team announcement.

"We're talking about a sport that’s becoming more and more technical, and where analysis is playing a bigger role every season. By unveiling the team two days in advance, your plans are telegraphed to your opponents and they know what’s coming.

"It's also a procedure that makes every match more vulnerable to unexpected weather. Pushing back the team announcement would add a level of excitement to the match-day experience for supporters and a layer of unpredictability to the contest."

According to SANZAAR regulations, Super Rugby teams are required to announce a draft starting squad of 23 at least 48 hours prior to kick-off, but there's nothing to prevent them from altering their starting line-up after that.

Therefore, the Lions were not sanctioned despite admitted they had deliberately conned the Chiefs with their late changes.

READ Jake White's full column on the All Out Rugby website

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