Eddie Jones explains why 'courageous' Springboks are changing the game

Eddie Jones explains why 'courageous' Springboks are changing the game

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has come out in support of South Africa over their decision to field a bench that contained mostly forwards.

After Willie le Roux pulled out late ahead of their Rugby World Cup warm-up with the All Blacks, the Springboks replaced him with back-row Kwagga Smith.

That meant they had a 7-1 split among the replacements, with all seven forwards coming on at the same time.

The Boks' intensity did not relent up front and they eventually came away with a dominant 35-7 triumph over New Zealand.

Jacques Nienaber's men have been slated in some quarters, especially by ex-Scotland coach Matt Williams who said it was 'against the spirit of the game.'

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his own penchant for innovating, Jones disagrees with Williams and insists that the Boks should be praised for their approach.

"Tradition maybe says 5-3, but that doesn't mean it's right," he told reporters. "If you are going to play a heavy dominant forward game, why wouldn't you have more forward players on the bench?

"Rugby is changing, the way it is refereed and officiated off the field is changing, it's just a sign of the times.

"Who says you have to have eight forwards and seven backs (in your starting team)? You don't have to. There are different ways to play the game.

"I applaud South Africa for being so bold and courageous in the way they want to play. That is great innovation."

While Jones has taken an interest elsewhere this week when assessing the Boks' bench revolution, his eyes are now firmly fixed on the Wallabies' World Cup opener.