‘Elton made too many unforced errors’
- 10 Sep 2017
- More by Nick_Mallett
What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks' 23-23 draw with the Wallabies in Perth.
'It was a very disappointing game in terms of skill and entertainment value.
'The Springboks will be disappointed that they did not win the game. I think they felt they played well enough to win. But there were a couple of opportunities that they didn’t take, which would have made a difference. And the Aussies were edging the Boks in the 50/50 calls.
'The Wallabies learned a lesson from the All Blacks about the kick-off. South Africa conceded a try because of their inability to handle kick-offs. It was a brilliant jump from Israel Folau. It was almost a mirror-image from Kieran Read [against the Wallabies in Dunedin]. And after some good interplay, they scored.
'I thought the referee [Glen Jackson] was too slow to penalise the Wallabies for playing Bok jumpers in the air, especially in the second half when the Boks got their driving maul going.
'South Africa's scrum dominance in the second half made a big difference and I think Steven Kitshoff coming on helped. Australia took the scrum as low as they possibly could on our and their ball. A referee like Jackson played flyhalf in his day and he wants the scrum to finish as soon as possible. He likes refereeing open play. After five scrums he called the front rowers aside and said that four have collapsed and there have been two free kicks, so he will start penalising them.
'What he didn’t see, was whose fault it was. It’s all very well speaking to both sides, but you have to understand who is going down and Scott Sio on the loosehead side was scrumming incredibly close to the ground, so when any pressure came on, it went straight down and the referee wasn’t sure who was to blame. So we can compliment Australia on intelligent scrummaging, but I do believe the scrum would have been better handled by a northern hemisphere referee.
'The Boks had more try-scoring opportunities than Australia. But we couldn’t capitalise. Jan Serfontein was unable to release the ball quickly after he was tackled close to the tryline, Jaco Kriel lost the ball when all he needed to do was keep hold of it, and that is why I think there was general disappointment at the result.
'Henry Speight was incredibly lucky not to concede a penalty try for playing the ball on the ground after the Springboks made that magnificent break down the field. Serfontein was tackled by Michael Hooper, who showed tremendous pace to get across. But Speight went off his feet, positioned himself over the ball to stop it from being played and that was completely illegal. That was almost a certain try had that ball been allowed to come out quicker.
'Elton Jantjies has grown enormously this year, but in this game his kick-off didn’t go 10m, he missed a penalty for touch just before half-time, which ended up in three points for Australia, some of his kicks weren’t as accurate as they should have been, and then there was the regulation penalty that he hooked dramatically to the right. To beat Australia and New Zealand away, you can’t make those kinds of unforced errors when you are not even under pressure. He is expected to kick the ball over the posts, he is expected to kick the ball out over the touchline, and he is expected to kick the ball 10 yards from the halfway line at a kick-off. The Boks would have won if Elton just got those three issues right.
'There were a lot of positives for the Boks, though. Raymond Rhule had his best defensive game of the year, and Coenie Oosthuizen was exceptional in defence too. He made 15 tackles before he went off with the injury.
'The one area the Boks need to work on, particularly before playing New Zealand, is the exit kicks. In this match, they were going for long exit kicks and playing two pods of forwards up, then passed it deep to Elton or Andries Coetzee, who would kick it long, which gave Folau 20 to 30m on the defensive line to take the ball up and make good decisions whether to hold on to the ball or move it two passes across the field.
'South Africa’s defence was very passive. For most of the game, they waited for the Australian backline to play their moves, and unfortunately they just kept on retaining possession. They can’t give the opposition that much time off the ball. They have to make those kicks contestable. If they don’t, a side like New Zealand will utilise that space much better than Australia did.'
Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
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