Rugby Championship

Mallett: Jantjies errors proved costly

2017-09-11 09:10
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says flyhalf Elton Jantjies made crucial errors that cost South Africa in their draw with Australia in Perth at the weekend.

The Springboks overcame a 20-10 second half-deficit to draw 23-all with the Wallabies but they’ll be disappointed having had chances to win the game.

“Elton Jantjies has grown enormously this year, but in this game his kick-off didn’t go 10m, he missed a penalty for touch just before half-time, which ended up in three points for Australia, some of his kicks weren’t as accurate as they should have been, and then there was the regulation penalty that he hooked dramatically to the right,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio afterwards.

“To beat Australia and New Zealand away, you can’t make those kinds of unforced errors when you are not even under pressure. He is expected to kick the ball over the posts, he is expected to kick the ball out over the touchline, and he is expected to kick the ball 10 yards from the halfway line at a kick-off. The Boks would have won if Elton just got those three issues right.”

Mallett was also not happy with the quality of rugby on display from both sides.

“It was a very disappointing game in terms of skill and entertainment value. The Springboks will be disappointed that they did not win the game. I think they felt they played well enough to win. But there were a couple of opportunities that they didn’t take, which would have made a difference. And the Aussies were edging the Boks in the 50/50 calls.”

Mallett however said there were "lots of positives" and lessons the Boks can take from the game.

“Raymond Rhule had his best defensive game of the year, and Coenie Oosthuizen was exceptional in defence too. He made 15 tackles before he went off with the injury," he said.

“The one area the Boks need to work on, particularly before playing New Zealand, is the exit kicks. In this match, they were going for long exit kicks and playing two pods of forwards up, then passed it deep to Elton or Andries Coetzee, who would kick it long, which gave (Israel) Folau 20 to 30m on the defensive line to take the ball up and make good decisions whether to hold on to the ball or move it two passes across the field.

“South Africa’s defence was very passive. For most of the game, they waited for the Australian backline to play their moves, and unfortunately they just kept on retaining possession. They can’t give the opposition that much time off the ball. They have to make those kicks contestable. If they don’t, a side like New Zealand will utilise that space much better than Australia did.”

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