Cape Town - Former coach Nick Mallett felt sorry for the Springboks after their record-breaking defeat to the All Blacks in Albany at the weekend.
South Africa’s 57-0 defeat was the worst in Springbok history, eclipsing the 53-3 defeat to England in 2002.
Mallett analysed the Springboks’ performance in the SuperSport studio after the match on Saturday.
“Criticising this Bok team is like clubbing a baby seal. The poor guys are defenceless at the moment,” Mallett said.
“The scrums were a shambles in the second half, the lineouts didn’t go well, the replacements didn’t make an impact, the scramble defence was nowhere and the first-up defence got worse as the game progressed," he continued.
“There’s a psychological weight that bears down on a player when they’re looking at the scoreboard at half-time and they’re staring at 30-odd-nil down. The game is finished and no one is going to beat the All Blacks when they are 30 points up. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough leadership in the Bok team at the moment and certainly not enough skill to have helped them come out for the second 40 minutes and try and turn things around.”
Mallett said the All Blacks had left their best performance of the year for the Springboks.
"The really upsetting thing was that there were periods in every other game the All Blacks had played this season where they were vulnerable. The British & Irish Lions exposed a few frailties in the All Blacks’ ranks, as did Australia in the second half of the Test in Sydney and in the match in Dunedin. Even Argentina held their own against New Zealand, and the score in that game was 22-22 after 60 minutes.
"But I have not seen New Zealand perform against any other team like they did against the Boks today. Their intensity and focus have been criticised, so they came out determined to have a fantastic performance and they were aided and abetted by South Africa’s errors and poor decision-making. It was an absolutely superb performance by a team on top of their game."