The "finishers" is the term constantly used by Les Bleus coach Fabien Galthié to describe his replacements.
When announcing a team composition, Fabien Galthié first mentions the starters for the match, before referring to the replacements, or the "finishers" as he likes to call them. So why the name?
Fabien Galthié, the coach of Les Bleus, doesn't like the word "replacements" and prefers to use the term "finishers". Indeed, the term "replacements" has a pejorative connotation and suggests that they are only there to replace a player who is injured or out of breath. He's 'only' the second choice because he's not good enough to be a starter. That's what the term 'replacement' suggests, don't you think?
On the other hand, the term 'finisher' is much more rewarding for players. A 'finisher' goes out onto the pitch to finish the game, to bring his physical and technical qualities to bear to help his team win. It's an 'impact player' who comes in to knock out his opponent and bring freshness to his squad. And what about you? If you were given the role of finisher in a rugby team instead of substitute, wouldn't that motivate you more to play?
So how is this bench of finishers managed?
During a match, the coaches have 8 finishers on the bench. So which tactics are adopted, 6-2 or 5-3?
6-2" means 6 forwards and only 2 back rows on the bench, whereas 5-3 means 5 forwards and 3 back rows, which is easy to understand, isn't it? On the other hand, it's a dilemma so coveted by rugby coaches, so which solution should you choose?
Today, coaches tend to recommend the "6-2" technique, as today's rugby is much more frontal and is played particularly up front. Coaches can therefore have a brand new front row (3 players) on the bench and generally 1 second row and 2 third rows. This means that they only have two versatile three-quarters on the bench (who can play in several positions).
This is because the three-quarters (back rows) are more athletic and enduring than the forwards, and can therefore endure the 80-minute match more easily.
Putting only 5 forwards on the bench could be detrimental in the second half, as the forwards have more difficulty finishing the match than the three-quarters because of their bigger bodies. On average, a forward weighs between 20 and 30 kilos more than a three-quarter - a huge difference, don't you think?