Mallett: Sharks' plan flawed
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett
has criticised the game plan employed by the Sharks.As it happened: Crusaders v Sharks
The Sharks were bundled out of the Super Rugby competition when they lost 38-6 to the Crusaders in the semi-finals last Saturday.
Mallett, speaking in the SuperSport
studio afterwards, said he was not impressed by the game plan Director of Rugby Jake White
had enforced on his players throughout the season.
"The Sharks' game plan can only be excused if they win every game they play because they don't play attractive rugby. It's pressure rugby, kicking rugby, too much playing without the ball," said Mallett.
"They do their best to put the opposition under pressure and then play off their mistakes, as opposed to hold onto the ball yourself and force the opposition into mistakes that way. Their kicking is often from first phase which is very easy for the opposition to read.
"The Crusaders kick from fourth or fifth phase when there is space at the back after they've brought up the opposition wingers. They isolate the ball carrier and make it into a contestable kick or they hit grass. Without the win, this is a flawed game plan. It's not attractive, not successful and ultimately is going to drive supporters away."
Mallett said the kicking game employed by the Sharks on the day was poorly executed. He also expressed concern at the South African teams' inability to play an attacking brand of rugby.
"The Sharks made the semi-finals, but they made it playing a different style of rugby from the three other teams that are there. Their game plan relies on territory and a huge defence. It depends on the dominance of your pack and especially the accuracy of your kicking game. Today they didn't have an accurate kicking game. If you don't have all those things working for you and you don't have the ability to fall back on playing the situation and skills, then you fall short. And they fell short badly today.
"You have to have a varied attacking game. The one thing that we in South Africa haven't got at the moment is a team that plays with a varied attacking game. Our attacking game is based on driving mauls, pick-and-go's and forwards off nine. The New Zealanders and the Australians use pick-and-go's, driving mauls, play off nine, play off 10 and they have the wide patterns to the wingers. They have the abilities to use all five of those attacking strategies to put the opposition under pressure. And the more varied your attacking strategy is, the harder it is to defend against. Perhaps this is just an orange light for South African rugby going into the Rugby Championship."
The Waratahs beat the Brumbies 26-8 in the other semi-final in Sydney to book a home final against the Crusaders this weekend.