Mallett: Ball skills a shocker!
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has criticised the ball skills of South African rugby players, following disappointing recent performances in Super Rugby.VIDEO: Nick Mallett hits out at SA player skills
Speaking as a guest on SuperSport, Mallett bemoaned the poor quality of rugby on display over the Easter weekend, and said conservative rugby and poor skills plagued the sport in this country.
"Our ball skills in South Africa really need a tremendous amount of work," Mallett said.
Mallett said the problem started at schools and at grassroots level, and said there was too much emphasis on size and strength and not enough emphasis on teaching young players crucial attacking skills.
"I would like to make an appeal to schoolboy coaches: please teach guys evasive skills, the ability to time a pass, to straighten, to create space on the outside, to run at a gap, to hit-and-spin, to try and offload if you're still on your feet, to try and get continuity without getting to a breakdown and without kicking an up-and-under."
Mallett said the quality of rugby dished up in the games between the Sharks and Cheetahs, and the Stormers and Lions, especially handling errors and conceding turnovers, demonstrated why the Springboks have difficulty trying to run the ball against the All Blacks.
"After watching this, it's no surprise to me that Heyneke Meyer decides to play a very limited game with the Springboks.
"It's no wonder the Springboks play a kicking game, because we are not capable of holding onto the ball for long periods," Mallett concluded.