IF you look back at the development of substitutes ­— in both codes of rugby ­— you will end up with a good list of positives but plenty of negatives.

The way the game has developed since the proliferation of substitutions has not necessarily been an improvement.

That is why the move to cut the number of interchanges down from 10 to eight should be welcomed.

Let’s go back 40 years. I would recommend everyone watches the 1978 Challenge Cup Final between Saints and Leeds as it is one of the most entertaining,gripping games you will see.

Now in those days you had two subs on the bench, but players could return to the field if need be.

In that game Saints kept both of their subs on the bench, leaving props Dave Chisnall and Mel James, and the rest of them for that matter, to play the full 80.

Leeds used both their subs, with the introduction of big prop Roy Dickinson in particular giving the Loiners pack that extra bit of punch.

It was a smart bit of play from Leeds coach Syd Hynes and you could see that this was a real game turner, and Leeds eventually wore a fatiguing Saints pack down.

There was always a case for tactical substitutions, without altering too much the 13 on 13 struggle and battle of wits.

Of course big men fatigued, and that is what created space for the nippy players to go through gaps and for the ball to go through hands and send the wingmen in.

Sometimes sports do need innovation, but we went too over the top in bringing in wholesale subs from the mid 90s onwards.

It has led to the growth of the big men, who can drive it in relentlessly for 20 minute spurts then go off for a breather.

Size became all important - and it was no surprise that Bradford's team of big men steamrollered Super League the last time the numbers were increased in 2003.

It has also seen the growth of gang tackling and throwing three and four bodies into the collision to slow down the attack. How has either of those aspects been an improvement?

In the past there have been gripes about player welfare when it comes to reducing subs. But surely, the game will evolve and teams will adapt to suit the new rules.

You never know, it could even be safer to not have to tackle a succession of refreshed 18stone blokes running in full pelt on a rota over the 80 minutes.

It will also reward those players with the engine to go for long minutes.

From a spectators point of view it is likely to produce a more varied spectacle, too.