Finishers such as British and Irish Lions forwards Courtney Lawes and Kyle Sinckler can hurt teams from the beginning, so why not start them?

Bob Baker
Follow Bob
Hurricanes v British & Irish Lions
Courtney Lawes has shown his value to the Lions off the bench – but what if he started? (Source: Getty)

England head coach Eddie Jones coined the term “finishers” to ensure those who did not make the cut for his starting XV felt of greater value to the squad.

Amusement aside, bench players should make an impact when joining the field as they bring fresh bodies to add further strain to opponents beginning to flag.

There is, however, logic to starting with the “finishers”, to forcefully toss the kitchen sink at the job before reverting to the 15 safest players to secure the result.

Read more: Rob Henderson: Lions players and fans silenced the All Blacks

Wasps signed the maverick Wales international Andy Powell in the summer of 2010, but unfortunately the part-time golf buggy racer was crocked during pre-season training.

Consequently, Powell was not able to do the requisite groundwork to last 80 minutes of the opening fixture against Harlequins in what was the London double header.

Instead of being held back and brought off the bench for the last 20 minutes or half an hour, Powell was told he would be starting and had to go as hard and fast as he could until he emptied the proverbial fuel tank.

Whether that was to occur in the 10th or 34th minute, that would be the time that he would be hauled from the field and plugged into the nearest oxygen canister.

London Wasps v Glasgow Warriors - Heineken Cup
Wasps experimented with telling a half-fit Andy Powell to go all-out until he was exhausted (Source: Getty)

So it worked, Powell scored a try a few minutes in, and managed to last to the game’s halfway point before being relieved of his duties.

Powell did not call for the oxygen but likely recovered with a fermented, barley-based carbohydrate replenishment drink at the players’ bar.


It would be interesting to see teams expend the fast and loose players before calling upon the dependables.

Granted, impact players could be more effective once the game has opened up following the caginess of the opening exchanges, but it would certainly provide a barrage to make opponents question themselves.

The abilities of the power players and the British and Irish Lions’ finishers was clear in Saturday’s series-levelling second Test win over the All Blacks.

Would it not be great to see Kyle Sinckler wreaking havoc from the off and Courtney Lawes throwing himself into contact from from T+0? Then call on Messrs Reliability to finish the job off.

Read more: Boost for Lions as O'Brien's citing complaint dismissed

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles