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MALLETT ON SUPERSPORT-header
Nick Mallett

‘Lions missing Whiteley’s captaincy’


The Lions in a huddle The Lions in a huddle

What former Bok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Super Rugby matches at Loftus Versfeld and Kings Park.

Bulls vs Stormers

'This game was like a pre-season friendly. There were some lovely tries scored, but Cheslin Kolbe running through six tacklers is laughable. Kolbe is really good in around the fringes and his ability to step forwards is unprecedented, but you just can’t defend like that.

'Pieter-Steph du Toit has got to up his defensive game. He was very poor with his tackles last weekend as well. Eben Etzebeth has been playing a good game. He has been very physical. Dillyn Leyds has been playing outstanding rugby.

'The Stormers’ back three have such tremendous pace, that they can score from 60m out. They are devastating off turnover ball. The Stormers’ backline players let the ball do the work.'

WATCH: Highlights of Bulls vs Stormers

Sharks vs Lions

'It was a frustrating game in that there were so many handling errors and one has to question whether this happens because it is Durban. In almost every game we’ve seen at Kings Park, the Sharks and their opposition end up knocking on more ball than we’ve seen in most other matches.

'The scrums were incredibly messy with a lot of collapses and penalties. But it’s great to see a South African side play on and score after the hooter, like the Lions did.

'Perhaps the Lions are missing Warren Whiteley’s calm captaincy. He has the ability to keep things nice and settled in that side and to calm people down if there’s a little bit of a fluster in the scrummage or around the lineout situation, and also in terms of defence and taking decisions of when to kick for touch and when to go for goal. It’s not that Jaco Kriel isn’t a great player and an inspirational leader, but they are just missing Whiteley’s ability to make everyone feel comfortable.

'The one thing we can honestly say is that the Sharks forwards can dominate. When they made a change to the front row after 50 minutes, there was a real momentum shift in favour of the Lions in the scrum.

'So next week, there are two things I’d do if I were the Sharks coach: I’d keep the top scrummaging guys on for as long as possible and I’d start Curwin Bosch. If you want to have a chance on the highveld, you have to have a guy who can kick the ball 50m when he kicks for touch.'

WATCH: Highlights of Sharks vs Lions

Photo: Steve Haag

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