Cape Town - Former national coach Nick Mallett has heaped praise on the Springboks following their 37-15 Rugby Championship win over Argentina in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
“It was a good performance by 23 players, and all of them contributed on attack and defence and just kept the momentum that was built up in June against France. They left the June series in such a good frame of mind, and if they had scraped past Argentina in Port Elizabeth it would have set them back. Every single Bok player contributed and in particular the guys who came off the bench,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio afterwards.
“But it was a nice win from a very good performance to set up the Rugby Championship. The Boks can be very proud of themselves. It was a well-coached, well-drilled and disciplined team performance and they only gave six penalties away, which was outstanding.”
The Boks dominated at scrum time and Mallett was impressed by what he saw in that department.
“Our front row was outstanding. We won a number of penalties in the scrum and always had a good platform to attack from. Coenie Oosthuizen has worked very hard at his game and that solid platform we had can be put down to his stability and ability to stay in the contest on the tighthead side. His carries are excellent, he makes a lot of good tackles and he gets turnovers.”
Mallet also hailed the impact assistant coach Brendan Venter has had on the team.
“Our work off the ball has really improved since last year and I think that is something Brendan Venter must take credit for. The players work so hard without the ball. It’s so important to look at our chase lines after kicks. Our chase lines were excellent. We had up to 10 players chasing up, and if the opposition tried to counterattack we made good tackles, and also created a lot of held-up tackles which enabled us to get turnovers. In addition to that, the players now get up on their feet quickly after they make a tackle, and that is very, very important. Malcolm Marx, Jaco Kriel and Siya Kolisi have been very good at it, and in the backline Jan Serfontein does it well too.”