The London club have rebranded their subs bench... causing much mirth online

Twitter Reacts to Harlequins Calling Replacements ‘Game Changers’

It all began with Eddie Jones and England. In February of last year, as England waded through the Six Nations, the Australian coach repeatedly referred to his substitutes bench as ‘finishers’. Eventually official match squad announcements carried the moniker too.  Successful psychological tool or not, the move caused a fair few jokes.

Now Harlequins have taken the trend a step further.

In naming their squad for a friendly against Jersey Reds this weekend, their head of rugby, Paul Gustard – who was defence coach under Jones when the ‘finishers’ chat came in – made a name change of his own. Instead of listing replacements, they were called ‘game changers.’

Yes, you read that right.

Related: Meet John Mitchell, who could replace Gustard with England

In the same announcement, Gustard said: “We are very excited about the season ahead and have had a positive pre-season at Surrey Sports Park to date with the squad training with great energy and enthusiasm.

“Now we have the chance to put the hard work we have invested on the training field into practice against a very accomplished Jersey Reds side as we continue to build and get stronger towards the start of the season on 1st September. It will be a good challenge against a big, powerful team and I am looking forward to seeing what this group of players can do for Harlequins.”

So far so positive. But the reaction online has been… well, slightly different.

The Quins replacements may well go on to change games, time and again. Who knows, the phrase could become engrained in rugby lexicon. After all, ‘sweeping the sheds’ – the simple act of tidying up the changing rooms after you use them – has become a global rugby trend that is said to encapsulate ‘culture’, ‘team ethic’ and ‘humility’. Maybe it is as simple as calling the subs ‘game changers’…

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