IT seems that one of the requirements to be a top level coach is also to be a fully-fledged control freak, and this week Eddie Jones and Steve Borthwick both made power grabs that emphasised the trait. That they should do so in the same week is probably not an accident, given that Jones and Borthwick worked hand-in-glove together for seven years, with Fast Eddie installing the former Bath/England lock as forwards coach with Japan, and then with the Red Rose men, before he joined Leicester.
Jones wants a change to having to announce his match squad 48 hours before an international, which he called an “archaic” rule. Instead, he wants to name his starting fifteen on the day of the match.
Jones offered this rationale on BBC 5 Live: “The rules of naming a starting 15 and a finishing eight is quite archaic, and we should just be allowed to name the squad of 23 and then pick on the day who starts and who finishes.”
Flexing his muscle as one of Rugby Union’s new breed of football-style ‘supercoaches’, he added: “It would add a bit more drama to the game. It would be really good (if) two hours before kickoff the name sheets are provided and you know who you’re playing against.”
A strong counterpoint to the Jones argument is that while it might cause a minor jolt of surprise on the bus to the game – mainly to the opposition coach – the talking point would barely impact the fans in the stadium, or the TV audience, because it will be swallowed up by the live action.
The point about announcing line-ups 48 hours before matches is because it keeps the interest in the match alive for at least a week ahead of it.
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