‘Bok front row was outstanding’
- 20 Aug 2017
- More by Nick_Mallett
What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks' win over Argentina in Port Elizabeth.
'It was a good performance by 23 players, and all of them contributed on attack and defence and just kept the momentum that was built up in June against France. They left the June series in such a good frame of mind, and if they had scraped past Argentina in Port Elizabeth it would have set them back. Every single Bok player contributed and in particular the guys who came off the bench.
'But it was a nice win from a very good performance to set up the Rugby Championship. The Boks can be very proud of themselves. It was a well-coached, well-drilled and disciplined team performance and they only gave six penalties away, which was outstanding.
'Our front row was outstanding. We won a number of penalties in the scrum and always had a good platform to attack from. Coenie Oosthuizen has worked very hard at his game and that solid platform we had can be put down to his stability and ability to stay in the contest on the tighthead side. His carries are excellent, he makes a lot of good tackles and he gets turnovers.
'There is no clear release of the ball in the lead-up to Courtnall Skosan’s try. The law states if your knee hits the ground, it counts as a tackle and you have to release the ball and then pick it up again. People say he wasn’t held, but you don’t have to be held if the tackle was completed. We were unlucky early in the first half when the referee disallowed a try when the Argentinians punched the ball backwards, but in the end we were compensated with that Skosan try.
'The real pressure will come against New Zealand, but at least the Bok youngsters have had a great introduction to international rugby against France and Argentina at home, and I don’t think the next Test away [in Salta] should present quite as many problems as in the past, because of our organisation on attack and defence. There’s much better player integration on attack in terms of understanding when to play off No 9 and when the ball goes to Elton Jantjies. That organisation and understanding comes from Franco Smith, I think.
'Our work off the ball has really improved since last year and I think that is something Brendan Venter must take credit for. The players work so hard without the ball. It’s so important to look at our chase lines after kicks. Our chase lines were excellent. We had up to 10 players chasing up, and if the opposition tried to counterattack we made good tackles, and also created a lot of held-up tackles which enabled us to get turnovers. In addition to that, the players now get up on their feet quickly after they make a tackle, and that is very, very important. Malcolm Marx, Jaco Kriel and Siya Kolisi have been very good at it, and in the backline Jan Serfontein does it well too.'
Province slow poison killed off Sharks
What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Western Province's 33-21 win against the Sharks in the Currie Cup final at Kings Park.
More questions than answers
The Springboks' narrow win in Paris did little to alleviate tactical and personnel concerns ahead of the clashes against Italy and Wales, writes JON CARDINELLI.
Duane, Steyn would bolster Boks
The Springboks have missed a trick by overlooking the value that Duane Vermeulen and Frans Steyn could have added to the end-of-year tour, writes CRAIG LEWIS.