Mallett: Leyds' pass was staggering
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has heaped praise on the Stormers’ performance following their 34-26 Super Rugby win over the Chiefs at Newlands.
In a highly entertaining affair, the Stormers outscored their Kiwi counterparts by four tries to three, avenging last year’s 60-21 humiliation in the quarter-finals at the same ground.
“This was a fantastic game to watch, and for the Stormers to come out on top is brilliant. It was a game where they had to pull out all the stops in all departments. The Chiefs contributed, as they always do, to a skilful and vibrant game,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio.
“None of the Stormers players had a poor game. They all got stuck in and played as a team with a well-organised game plan. A lot of credit has to go to Robert du Preez, Dan du Plessis and EW Viljoen. They were up against outstanding backline players, who often bring three or four defenders down the same channel, and they did well to prevent the Chiefs from scoring from first phase.”
Mallett also heaped praise on Stormers captain Siya Kolisi, while he singled out Dillyn Leyds’ pass to SP Marais as exceptional.
With the Chiefs hot on the attack in the second period, Cheslin Kolbe intercepted a pass, before booting up-field. Leyds chased it down and got to it first, before spectacularly throwing a back-flip pass to Marais on his outside, with the fullback rounding off in the corner.
“Siya Kolisi thoroughly deserved to be man-of-the-match, closely followed by Cheslin Kolbe, who stopped two certain tries with interceptions, and then that pass from Dillyn Leyds was absolutely staggering,” Mallett continued.
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Mallett also lauded the Stormers coaching staff for the way in which they have transformed the Cape side.
“What (coach) Robbie Fleck has done well, is share the responsibility of the various aspects of the game. Paul Treu is in charge of defence and he should be proud of their effort, particularly in the second half. The breakdown is being handled by John Dobson and the improvement in the Stormers’ breakdown work has been extraordinary. Their cleaning is clinical, the presentation of the ball is outstanding and they get quick ball. Then, of course, Fleck brought in (New Zealander) Paul Feeny as the skills coach and there is no question that he has given the players confidence to make good decisions on the ball.
“What was really special was that a South African side proved that they can hold on to the ball for long periods of time against a New Zealand franchise without conceding possession. The Chiefs’ first two tries came from poor kicks by the Stormers, but obviously there was a message in the Stormers change room that they should hold on to the ball. And they turned it around. We always said their first test would be against a New Zealand team, especially after that choking loss against the Chiefs last year. They’ve made massive strides this year in terms of team progress and coaching, and the evidence was on the field on Saturday.”