Springboks Rugby World Cup warm-up

Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx embrace. Photo: @BokRugby Twitter.

Ireland legend: Nothing wrong with Springboks’ revamped 7-1 Bomb Squad

Alan Quinlan has come out in defence of South Africa’s use of a 7-1 forwards dominated bench, which has caused some controversy in recent weeks.

Springboks Rugby World Cup warm-up

Springboks Eben Etzebeth, Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx embrace. Photo: @BokRugby Twitter.

Quinlan believes just because the Springboks have the rare luxury to be able to revamp their bench to a 7-1 split in favour of forwards, does not mean the tactic should be outlawed.

On the eve of the Rugby World Cup, the Springboks notably named seven forwards on their bench in a 7-1 split for the game against the All Blacks, which gave new meaning to the team’s bomb squad strength.

ALSO READ | Springboks v Scotland: What time is kick off on Sunday?

Although this bench configuration only came into effect after a late injury to Willie le Roux, it has caused a big debate in some rugby circles, with former Scotland rugby coach Matt Williams suggesting South Africa were “abusing the bench” and jeopardising player safety.

And while the Springboks have said — through their outspoken director of rugby Rassie Erasmus — they’re not bothered and don’t much care what other people outside of their camp say about their innovation, the South Africans have received support from an unexpected source.

ALSO READ | One massive omission to expect in Springbok World Cup opener


Speaking to BoyleSports about Rugby World Cup odds, Quinlan opined that South Africa has done nothing wrong because they acted within the laws of the game.

“They have done nothing wrong within the laws of the game. I don’t think it should be outlawed, at least at the moment. If everybody started doing it and had the luxury of the quality of South Africa forwards that could lead to a forward oriented game and a lot of set pieces,” he explained.

“I have always been strong on player safety and if this became a regular thing with everybody doing it then I think I would be concerned.  But I don’t think it will become the norm.

“There has long been a debate about the number of replacements a team could or should have. South Africa should not be punished for having so many really good forwards.

“There are risks with it as well. If you get a couple of outside backs injured it can backfire. A lot of people have gone 6-2 in recent years and this gives them more options. Some back-rowers can play in the backs now as well. But even 6-2 is risky.”  

“The impact off the bench is definitely a live topic. It will no doubt become a talking point though with regard to player safety. It wasn’t that long ago you could only make replacements for injured players.”

ALSO READ | Massive Springbok selection revealed before World Cup

‘Scary South Africa massive RWC threat’

Commenting on who he thinks will be favourites to win the looming Rugby World Cup title, Quinlan again backed Jacques Nienaber’s Springboks to go all the way.

“The Springbok threat to Ireland is massive, both sides will know what they have to do by that time,” he said.

“But if you decide you’d rather play France or New Zealand in a quarter final you are in very dangerous territory. What happened at Twickenham when they smashed New Zealand is a scary prospect for everyone. They are not one trick ponies.”

He believes the Springboks’ player depth will be unrivalled at this World Cup, which gives the South Africans another huge advantage over their title rivals.

“They have so  much power but also incredible X factor players and finishers who can do special things. The depth they have across the board is phenomenal. Unlike many teams, if they get an injury or two the players coming in are as good if not better.”

ALSO READ | Will Springboks’ World Cup matchday 23 look like this?

Fans and pundits have praised the Springboks on social media after they produced a memorable display at Twickenham on Friday night. Photo: @BokRugby via Twitter.