Steve Borthwick's predecessor Eddie Jones coined the 'finishers' tag in 2017
New England head coach Steve Borthwick has dropped the finishers tag and has brought back ‘replacements’ in his match day squad announcements.
Under Eddie Jones, who was sacked in December, players named on the bench were called finishers. The Australian coach brought in the term in 2017 to signal that the game had become a 23-player effort and it sparked a trend with other sides calling their replacements ‘game changers’ and even ‘system players’.
But when Borthwick named his first ever England match day squad for their 2023 Six Nations opener against Scotland, the word replacements had returned.
“Every player has their role to play in this team, every player knows their job,” Borthwick said. “The people who are the replacements, who are on the bench at the start, know their jobs and the positions they need to cover and the roles they will have to play within it.
“Part of my role is to ensure those players have clarity over their jobs and I think that is there. I don’t get too obsessed with things that I don’t think add value to the side.”
The change did not go unnoticed by fans, former players and pundits.
Commentator Nick Mullins tweeted: “The word “Finishers” dropped from the team sheet. “Replacements” recalled. If little things sum up this new Borthwick era then that might be one of them.”
Former England captain Will Carling said: “Get the impression Steve wants the game to be about the players, not himself. As it should be……”
And broadcaster Ian Stafford said: “Do you know the biggest take away for me from the England squad named today to play Scotland. That we don’t have the “Finishers” nonsense anymore. We’re back to the XV and ‘replacements,” as it should be. You can’t kid anyone. Nobody prefers to be a “finisher” over a starter!”
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