Mallett finds plenty wrong with struggling Boks

2016-11-14 09:27
Rudy Paige (Getty)

Cape Town - Former coach Nick Mallett identified plenty wrong with the Springboks' performance following their 37-21 loss to England at Twickenham on Saturday. 

It is South Africa's sixth loss in 10 Tests his year, and the poor display further heightened the pressure on under-fire coach Allister Coetzee. 

Mallett, speaking in the SuperSport studio after the match, identified numerous departments where the Boks were poor. 

The biggest criticism was of the Bok defensive structure, which lacked cohesiveness, while Mallett also bemoaned the lack of a specialist loose forward trio in the starting line-up.

The defence was found wanting on more than one occasion and it proved costly as three of England's four tries came as a direct result of sloppy Springbok defending. 

Mallett was critical of the Boks' attempt to employ a pillar defence around the rucks. 

It could be seen clearly in England's third try, when scrumhalf Ben Youngs broke from the base of a ruck though a gaping hole in the Bok defence.

"You’ve got to be a metre, a metre and a half from the first defender. You can’t be five metres from the first defender. That’s just giving a massive boulevard for that guy to run through," Mallett said of the try. 

Adriaan Strauss was the first defender at the ruck while Pieter-Steph du Toit was taking up his position some distance to his captain's left.

"Pieter-Steph doesn’t know what his role is. He thinks he has to go on the pass, so hesitates and the dummy beats him on the inside," Mallett explained.

"If he knew what his role was he'd kill (Ben) Youngs there... he'd smash him. If you don’t understand that, you’ve got no defensive system."

Mallett was also critical of scrumhalf Rudy Paige, who he believed was very slow to get rid of the ball. That, Mallett believed, was a direct result of the Boks not having any loose forward dominance in the game.

"We’ve had no real loose forwards today understanding the role of loose forward play so they (England) got very quick ball and we got slow ball," Mallett said.

"I thought that Rudy Paige was quite slow in his clearing of the ball whereas I saw their scrumhalf a lot faster. The ball availability for Youngs was far quicker than for us which allows him then to take decisions on the front foot.

"We didn’t have an open-side flanker who was able to slow their ball down. We had four locks on the field and as we said at the beginning of the game, if they get quick ball we’re going to be in trouble."

The problems didn't stop there.

"The aerial errors by JP (Pietersen) and Willie le Roux... very costly for us," Mallett added.

"Finally, making stupid unforced errors. (Pat) Lambie kicking the ball out on the full, Willie le Roux having a penalty and kicking the ball dead.

"If you add all these things up... those are the reasons why we concede 35 points. It requires a lot of hard work and a lot of coaching understanding and a lot of understanding from the players. We can improve it."

Mallett, as usual, was brutal.

"It’s no good being in the game for 40 minutes. You’ve got to have a defensive game, an attacking game, an attacking shape, a kicking attacking shape, a kicking defensive shape and you’ve got to have guys who work their butts off for each other for 80 minutes," he said.

Read more on:    springboks  |  nick mallett  |  allister coetzee  |  rugby

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