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VIDEO: Peyper adds his voice to Bomb Squad debate

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks’ use of the famous ‘Bomb squad’ against Ireland has not gone down well in some parts of the rugby fraternity.


The Springboks under Rassie Erasmus’ guidance are well known for their unorthodox tactics, which have proven to be masterstrokes.

The double World Cup winners have introduced the world to the ‘Bomb Squad’ which is the use of the six-two split (six forwards and two backs on the bench)

The Bomb Squad has become entrenched in the nation’s history and was a crucial part of their 32-13 win over England in the 2019 World Cup Final.

The Bomb Squad was taken to another level when Erasmus opted for a seven-one split on the bench.

While that tactic did not work against Ireland during the 2023 World Cup pool phase (Boks lost 8-13), it’s still a plan that Erasmus will certainly entertain.

On Saturday, Erasmus made use of the six-two split against Ireland.


With the game on the knife’s edge at 13-8, Erasmus replaced his entire tight five and Siya Kolisi. He brought all six replacement forwards onto the field early in the 49th minute.

The famed ‘Bomb Squad’ were once again effective, as they produced a powerful five-metre scrum and were rewarded with a 78th-minute penalty try.

However, after the 27-20 win over Ireland, the Springboks’ use of their bench copped some criticism, with former Scotland head coach Matt Williams stating that the ‘Bomb squad’ is a discrimination against the backs.


Williams has always been very vocal about the usage of the ‘Bomb Squad’. Ahead of the World Cup last year, Williams revealed that it was a move that goes against the spirit of the game.

He doubled down after Saturday’s match against Ireland, stating that the Bok management team isn’t using the laws around the replacements for what they were designed for, which is safety.

On Monday, SA Rugby’s National Laws Advisor Jaco Peyper was asked if the introduction of the six-two split adds a dangerous element to the game.

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“The law is pretty clear that you can do it,” Peyper told reporters in Umhlanga ahead of the Test against Ireland.

“I don’t think a six-two split makes the sport dangerous.

“What makes the sport dangerous is when players don’t level-change, drop their height into contact, when players take risks in the air and don’t respect the players in the air.”

Peyper revealed that Ireland also made use of the six-two split in some of their games.

“Ireland played with a six-two split three times in the Six Nations and nobody talked about it then.

“So, I think it’s probably focussed on because it was effective.

“At this point, the safety of the game is determined by the shape of the game.

“The laws are specifically there to protect the head, playing in the air, and scrum.  When you pre-engage it puts a lot of stress on the neck.

“Those are the things that make the game dangerous, not a pair of fresh legs.

“I’ve seen a piece written by Dr Ross Tucker, which stated the risk of injury goes down when fresher players enter the field.”

The Springboks will name their team to face Ireland on Tuesday.

All Black second row Brodie Retallick joins Jim Hamilton for the latest episode of Walk the Talk, touching on life in Japan, RWC 2023 and the future of All Black rugby. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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