Wallabies risk losing Tri Nations points
July 11, 2003

Eddie Jones' Wallabies risk being stripped of any points from tomorrow's Test against the Springboks as he continues to defy the latest IRB rule on replacements.

The International Rugby Board introduced a new law recently that all teams must be able to replace any two injured frontrowers during the course of a match.

Since its introduction Jones has flouted the regulation in the three June Tests and will do so again this weekend in Cape Town by carrying just one specialist prop on his bench.

Stakes have been raised in the past two days with the IRB reaffirming its hardline stance to the Australian Rugby Union and overturning a result at the recent under-21 World Cup when France was caught short on front-row replacements.

The danger scenario for the Wallabies is if both starting props, Bill Young and Patricio Noriega, are forced from the field with injury.

Australia would be forced to demand uncontested scrums, in the interests of safety - a move that would lead to the Wallabies forfeiting any victory or bonus points earned from the game.

Wallaby replacement hooker Adam Freier is incapable of acting as a standby prop and Jones believes the answer is for the IRB to give international sides eight replacements, allowing them to carry back-up for all three front-row positions.

"We did seek clarification and had a reply that this is the law and this is how it should be and if you don't do it then you could be in a bit of trouble," Jones told the Daily Telegraph.

"But I don't think, as it stands, it's in the best interests of the game and it needs to be reviewed again. Sides all around the world are going to struggle with that situation.

"The intensity of the scrum engagement is getting higher and higher and specialists need to play. I think it's quite dangerous otherwise and it puts the welfare of players at risk.

"We're continuing to discuss it with the IRB. I think the sensible situation is where you'd have eight reserves."

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