‘Go cry somewhere else’ – England great receives backlash after concern over huge Bordeaux and Springboks packs

Colin Newboult
Ex-England hooker Brian Moore and the Springboks mauling against Tonga during the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Brian Moore’s comments on the bench has caused debate.

Former England hooker Brian Moore has been criticised after he complained about the size and power of the Bordeaux-Begles forwards.

The French outfit fielded a massive pack which completely overwhelmed English champions Saracens at the weekend.

They dominated the match to secure a 45-12 victory and move into the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

Bordeaux played some superb rugby but it was aided by the efforts of the likes of 23st prop Ben Tameifuna. After he had finished his shift, the 21st South African Carlu Sadie came on to replace him.

Springboks in the firing line

Moore also used the Springboks as an example of sides being able to switch one big forward with another gargantuan unit off the bench, leaving him concerned about the issue of player welfare.

“Take any of South Africa’s recent matches and you can see the ‘Bomb squad’ size and power dynamic at work,” he wrote in his Telegraph column.

“You cannot deny that it is effective and, as such, is a trend that is likely to develop as sides attempt to compete by copying these examples.”

Moore then added: “Rugby needs to be clear about this issue. It can have whatever sort of game it wants and if you prefer massive collisions between huge players, you are entitled to that view. However, what you must admit are the ineluctable effects of accepting this policy.

“In terms of safety, it cannot be safer for some players to play a full 80 minutes against two players trained and bulked to play only part of each match.

“It is also less safe, in terms of repeated subconcussive impacts, to have players who maximise their size and power, knowing they have to play only a limited role in a game.

“Having players play a full game would also allow teams to give players a full week off if they were played in alternate games instead of playing a limited time every match.

“When it comes to longer-term effects, what do you think parents think when they see this rush for size? From direct experience, I can tell you they think this sort of imbalance exists at every level and this dissuades some parents from allowing their kid even to try rugby.”

Bordeaux-Begles v Saracens: Five takeaways from the Champions Cup clash

The ex-England front-rower has therefore joined Ireland great Keith Wood in urging the relevant authorities to alter the laws on the use of replacements.

“Restricting the number of substitutes, or banning them save for injury, is one way of forcing players to train to play for longer periods and to shed bulk for aerobic capacity,” Moore wrote.

“We are heading for a point where certain levels of rugby are not for all shapes and sizes, unless you mean the shape and size is huge and heavy.”


Moore has since come under fire for his comments, with one person writing on X, formerly Twitter: “Seriously bias s*** from Brian Moore. Bordeaux produces one of the best quality rugby in Europe and he is crying like a baby because Big Ben is huge?

“Tonga has a 1000kg pack, have they won the World Cup? Saracens are just s*** Brian, go cry somewhere else.”

Respected analyst Sam Larner also took umbrage with the England great, albeit in slightly less x-rated fashion.

“There’s a debate to be had about player sizes. My personal view is that we shouldn’t change away from the sub rules we currently have,” he wrote.

“But that aside. (Christian) Judge and (Mako) Vunipola – Sarries starters – were replaced on the 49th min. Tameifuna was replaced at min 53 and (Jefferson) Poirot at 55mins.”

Moore doubled down, putting on social media: “Those commenting without reading the full article, most of my comments are not on safety, although it’s addressed.

“One main objection – it makes the task of emerging nations, who might be able to field a competitive starting pack, but not also 7 similar subs, much more difficult.”

But Hugo Gordon disagreed, writing: “I like Brian Moore and I was hoping that the headline had rather done him dirty but no.

“There’s an argument that I don’t completely disagree with that an increased bench makes it harder for smaller sides to compete. But the article overly focuses on size over skill.”

READ MORE: Investec Champions Cup: Quarter-final ties, times and dates revealed