Mallett laments 'unwatchable’ rugby
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett was not impressed by the quality of rugby dished up by South Africa’s Super Rugby teams on Saturday.
Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio and commented on the Bulls v Cheetahs and Sharks v Rebels games.
The Bulls eked out a 20-14 win over the Cheetahs in Pretoria, while the Sharks and Rebels played to a disappointing 9-all draw in Durban.
Following the Bulls’ narrow win, Mallett said: “All I can say after this game is they’ve made a really good decision to reduce us (South Africa) to four teams, because the quality of this match is just not what people want to watch on a regular basis. It reminded me of a game between two weak Australian sides.
“This was disappointing rugby for long periods of the game and pretty unwatchable stuff until about the 70th minute.
“The perennial problem for the Bulls all season has been their inability to finish. They make great linebreaks, but have no ability to finish off. The Bulls are too lateral in attack and their support-running is extremely poor.
“Both teams played like a windshield wiper going left and right without any momentum down the middle of the field. And it is exacerbated by the No 10s standing deep, even after good front-foot ball. The flyhalf has to stand flat as soon as they win the ball on the gainline.”
A lack of discipline and several handling errors were the order of the day in Durban.
“From a South African point of view, this Sharks performance was the low point of the season,” Mallett continued.
“The referee was called on many times in this game because of all the mistakes, handling errors and ill-discipline. This game had everything that we don’t want to see in rugby. There was some extraordinary poor passing by the Sharks, especially by (centre) Jeremy Ward.”
Mallett said the decisions to send off Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen and Rebels captain Nic Stirzaker were the correct ones.
“I think the officials handled the red card situation really well. It was a deliberate lifting tackle over the horizontal and the player’s shoulder and head landed simultaneously. This is exactly the sort of action that we’re trying to stamp out of the game. When a guy lands on his head like that there’s not just concussion to worry about, but also the possibility of the neck being broken. It was a ridiculously dangerous thing to do by Esterhuizen.
“Nic Stirzaker can also have no complaints regarding his two yellow cards that resulted in a red card. On both occasions he made no attempt to intercept the ball, he deliberately slapped it down.”