The Glasgow Warriors coach on the art of replacements

How to use your subs – by Danny Wilson

Replacements have become ever more important in the modern game and here Glasgow Warriors head coach gives his top tips on making the most of your bench.

Read the game

“The context of the game will decide when you make your subs and who you bring on. The opposition, the weather and the score will all factor into your decision-making.

“It’s all about the art of reading the game as it is happening and making changes that alter the flow of the match.”

Make an impact

“You’ll have cover and impact subs. A cover sub is used in case of an injury or a booking. You can’t plan those. An impact sub you can plan.

How to use your subs

Glasgow Warriors head coach Danny Wilson (SNS Group/Getty Images)

“You might tell your front row to go all out for 50 minutes and they know they will be replaced. But it’s not always the case. Sometimes it’ll be pre-planned and sometimes you’ll keep a player out there for longer because you think they are providing an impact.”

Be aware of injuries

“Some players might be time capped, if they’re coming back from injury. Rather than throw them in for 80, we’d ease them in, then increase the time they play until they’re back to health.

“We listen to what players say during the match too. If they have cramp, illness or a niggle, it’s best to remove them before it becomes an injury.”

Review the changes

“In our post-match analysis, we’ll discuss the substitutions we made and our coaching performance before we talk about the players. We can be quite honest with each other and we want to understand if we got those subs right and if we made them at the right time.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 edition of Rugby World.

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