Mallett excited by new Bok squad

2016-05-30 10:51
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has given the new Springbok squad named a thumbs up.

Mallett was speaking on SuperSport on Saturday night after coach Allister Coetzee announced a 31-man squad for the three-Test series against Ireland in June.

“This is a really exciting squad and they are all there on form. It’s a really good mix of youth and experience. People haven’t been selected on reputation. We could perhaps argue about Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw's selections, because we haven’t seen much of their performances overseas, but otherwise everyone else was selected on form in Super Rugby. So, it’s a really enthusiastic group of players, who deserve to be there. There is not one player there based on his reputation of playing well in the past and so we hope he plays well again,” said Mallett.

“This squad has been selected very much around the way the Lions have played this season. The new guys who have come in are multi-skilled players, who step, off-load and pass. But it takes long for a team to gel together and the Lions had to spend four years together before they could finally produce a performance like they did against the Bulls this afternoon and as they have done on a number of occasions this season. The Springbok coach does not have a lot of time with his players.”

Mallett said it would be interesting to see which game plan Coetzee adopts against Ireland.

“Allister Coetzee has to maintain the Boks’ traditional strengths of scrummaging, lineouts, physical defence and winning the breakdown battle. When the Lions didn’t do that they lost against the Hurricanes. When they have done that, it's opened up a whole area of the game they could exploit. Play off the halfbacks, play out wide, use attacking kicks, but the team has to dominate up front first.”

The scrum battle would still be of utmost importance, Mallett believes.

“I think the front-row battle is going to be the key in these three Tests against Ireland. The Irish will be a very shrewdly coached team, but they won’t know much about these Springbok players. Ireland will expect a lot of physicality, but to be honest they won’t really know how this side will play, whereas teams knew exactly how Heyneke Meyer’s team was going to play. This is a new era, starting against quite an experience Ireland side, which is a really good test for us because they are in the top three northern hemisphere teams. As I’ve said, they have some very good, talented individuals but so have we. What I think Springbok supporters want to see is that we don’t lose our dominance in the forwards, which will set the platform to exploit quick ball to get our backs to play the best they can.”

The Springboks play Ireland in Cape Town (June 11), Johannesburg (June 18) and Port Elizabeth (June 25).

Springbok squad:

Forwards (17): Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni (Stormers), Jaco Kriel, Julian Redelinghuys, Warren Whiteley (Lions), Trevor Nyakane, Adriaan Strauss (Bulls), Lood de Jager (Cheetahs), Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux/FRA), Francois Louw (Bath/ENG), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon/FRA)

Backs (14): Garth April, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen, Wille le Roux (Sharks), Ruan Combrinck, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe (Lions), Jesse Kriel, Rudy Paige, Jan Serfontein (Bulls), Damian de Allende, Nic Groom (Stormers)

Read more on:    springboks  |  nick mallett  |  rugby


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