Rugby Championship

Mallett: Stick with Pollard!

2014-09-15 07:49
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has praised the performance of young flyhalf Handre Pollard against the All Blacks.

As it happened: All Blacks v Springboks

The 20-year-old was picked at the expense of Morne Steyn for the past weekend's Rugby Championship Test against the Kiwis in Wellington.

The Boks lost 14-10 but Pollard acquitted himself well against the world's best team.

Mallett, speaking in the SuperSport studio after the game, said Bok coach Heyneke Meyer should now stick with Pollard as his No 10 for the remainder of the year.

"The Springboks played by far their best match this year," said Mallett. "A lot of it had to do with the positive mindset that came into the team from the selection of Handre Pollard. We had one exit from our half where we won the ball on our line and played the ball to Duane Vermeulen who took it up. He then gave the ball to Pollard who found Willie le Roux, we ran it out of our 22, and only then did Pollard kick the ball. We took the ball through phases, played into space, before going to the boot.

"This Test cleared up a number of issues for Heyneke Meyer. First of all, Pollard is definitely the real deal and hopefully he'll get a run right through until the end of the year. Secondly, Jan Serfontein looked much more comfortable at No 12, where he had a brilliant game on defence. With Jean at 13, we didn't miss his captaincy, and his ability to understand the defence was crucial today."

Mallett also praised the performance of French referee Jerome Garces who avoided any controversial decisions.

"This was an absolutely wonderful Test match. It was what all rugby players and supporters want to see or be involved in. The referee was outstanding in the game, absolutely clear, no controversial incidents and no yellow cards," said Mallett.

South Africa's next Test in the Rugby Championship is against Australia at Newlands on September 27.

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