Mallett: Exciting times in rugby

2013-02-06 22:22
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok and Italy coach Nick Mallett says international rugby is entering an exciting period with more of the so-called smaller teams capable of causing an upset.

Speaking to BallzRadio, Mallett said the traditional powerhouses of Test rugby should be wary of the threat the lesser teams now pose. He pointed to recent surprise results in Test rugby being indicative of a shift in the world rugby landscape.

"In the past it used to be only New Zealand, South Africa, England, France and Australia who could win the Rugby World Cup. Now there are at least five teams that can (upset) one of those top teams. England’s recent victory over New Zealand was an example of (the changing rugby landscape).

"In the last five years, a game against Samoa is no longer a walk in the park for even a top five team. Scotland managed to beat Australia last year. A game against Argentina has proven time and time again to be a stumbling block," Mallett said.

Mallett believed that rugby could only benefit from stronger competition at the top level.

"It’s great for world rugby, I must admit, it’s a very exciting time for international rugby."

Mallett said that even Italy’s upset victory over France in this year's Six Nations put a new perspective on their upcoming match against the Springbok team and he cautioned the Boks against complacency.

“They are going to come out and play in South Africa, I don’t think they will expect to beat South Africa, but they will be looking to better their results."

Italy's best result in South Africa to date has been a 29-13 loss in Witbank in 2010 and Mallett believed the ever-improving Azzurri were very capable of improving on that performance.

The Springboks face Italy in their opening Test of the year on June 8 at Kings Park in Durban.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with Nick Mallett? Do rugby's traditional powerhouses need to keep a look over their shoulders at the chasing pack? Send your thoughts to Sport24.

Read more on:    boks  |  italy  |  nick mallett  |  rugby

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