All Blacks replacement flanker Dalton Papali’i says they’ve got their own version of the Springboks’ “Bomb Squad” and will be looking to take out the South Africa bench in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final in Paris.
South Africa’s replacements have been nicknamed the “Bomb Squad” ever since 2019 when the likes of Malcolm Marx and Steven Kitshoff came off the bench to make big impacts on the outcome of matches.
The nickname stuck, with lock RG Snyman and South Africa’s Bomb Squad again rescuing the day in their 16-15 win over England in the semifinals last week.
Asked whether they have a plan for the Bok replacements, Papali’i says: “I’ll tell you a quick story, I’ve got a little group happening in the team room at our hotel and we’re watching Band of Brothers and the 101st Airborne and their Easy Company.
“So, I made a little joke saying ‘you know they’ve got the ‘Bomb Squad’, so we could have the ‘Easy Company’. We want to go and finish the job and be in the trenches.
“Talking about the Bomb Squad, man they’ve proven themselves. They can come on and change a game like that. So, we sort of need to identify whoever is on the bench and… really be screwed on up top and give it hell.”
Forwards coach Jason Ryan agrees with the flanker, saying: “It would be good to take some gas out of that bomb, wouldn’t it? They have got their DNA as a forward pack.
“We’ve got trust in our plan this week and we believe we will be able to be there right until the end.”