Cape Town - Former national coach Nick Mallett says the passionate crowd at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium pulled the Springboks through in their match against the Wallabies over the weekend.
READ: 15 staggering stats from the Boks' win over the Wallabies
Mallett was in attendance as South Africa’s held on to beat Australia 23-12 in Port Elizabeth.
The visitors enjoyed 60.5% possession and 65% territory and the home side’s win was again built on a staunch defensive effort - the Boks made 144 tackles compared to Australia’s 74.
“I have never been to this stadium for a Test match before. In fact, I have never been to a live game in a while because it is always in studio, but it is really exceptional. When you get crowd participation like this, it is a 16th player or even a 17th player,” SuperSport pundit Mallett said after the game.
“Although the referee had a very good game and was not influenced by the crowd; it is a very, very intimidating atmosphere here when you get a united South Africa behind the team as we saw today.”
Mallett said it was important for the Boks to back up the win over New Zealand earlier in the month.
“I am so happy the result went our way. We can quibble about the quality of the game, but if we had lost after that wonderful win in New Zealand, then next week we are back to square one again. This was such a good win for the team and the coaching staff. It leads in so nicely for Pretoria next week where we have an absolutely passionate crowd as well. I hope we will turn out and support the Boks.”
Mallett also praised Bok coach Rassie Erasmus for the manner in which his side responded to earlier losses in the Rugby Championship.
“I must congratulate Rassie. It is a very tough job and after a couple of losses against Argentina and Australia, to bounce back with an away win against New Zealand and a good home win against a decent Australia side that pushed us is outstanding. Let’s hope he can carry that through to New Zealand. It is going to be a very hard game for us in Pretoria but I have a lot of confidence for the courage and intensity of this team.”