Cape Town - Former coach Nick Mallett has lauded the impact made by Brendan Venter at the Springboks.
Venter was roped in as defence and exits specialist for the Springboks as they completed a 3-0 series whitewash of France by winning last Saturday’s final Test in Johannesburg 35-12.
Defence was a hallmark of the home side in all three Tests and Mallett feels Venter deserves credit.
After the final Test, Mallett shared his thoughts in the SuperSport studio.
“We are tackling and tackling and working hard for each other. And that is one area where the Springboks have made a massive step up from last year. Our rhythm was off today, because I think the coordination between scrumhalf Francois Hougaard and flyhalf Elton Jantjies wasn’t there, but on defence we worked our butts off and it’s just fantastic,” Mallett said.
“There were superb kick-chases and what they call a ‘wolfpack defence’, where everyone works for each other, and that comes from Brendan Venter and the whole Saracens brotherhood culture. In my opinion that change in the camp has been generated by Venter’s strong personality and it has really made a huge difference.”
Mallett was also disappointed by the efforts of France throughout the series.
“There were three very similar Tests and 3-0 was exactly what the Boks set out to do. We scored four tries in each game and a lot of the tries we scored were off French errors. I was not bitterly disappointed with the French, but I thought they were poor and we made them look even worse. They just didn’t look well-coached, were poorly prepared and didn’t look up for the physical contest,” he said.
“I’m not looking for excuses for France. They have a huge number of players. We also go on tour in November when our players are tired after a long season and we expect our team to win. You are paid to be a professional rugby player and to represent your country and you should perform. Especially for a side like France, who has a proud history of touring South Africa and doing well. So this was a disappointing team.”