Nick Mallett

‘Boks, Marx were magnificent’

Cody Taylor and Malcolm Marx shake hands after the game Cody Taylor and Malcolm Marx shake hands after the game

What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks' 25-24 defeat against the All Blacks in Cape Town.

'What a great game of rugby this was. I mean a 50-minute first half is just wonderful stuff.

'If you can’t be entertained by a game of rugby like that and don’t feel admiration for all those players on the field and the referee – who I thought had a great game – then I don’t know. It was just a wonderful experience.

'This Springbok side got off the canvas and produced a magnificent performance. We have to give credit to the All Blacks for playing away from home against a team that is fighting for their lives and yet they still find a way to win. It is incredibly irritating, but they are just a great, great rugby team.

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'Let’s just look at some statistics quickly. Metres made by South Africa 924 to New Zealand’s 840, we had 169 carries to 126 and 200 passes to 203. The Boks gave away only six penalties and the All Blacks conceded 11. In the tackles made category, the Springboks had an 83% success rate, 154 made and 33 missed, while the All Blacks had to make 237 tackles and missed only 21 for a 91% success ratio. In addition, the ball was in play for 44 minutes, which is an unbelievable amount of time for a Test match.

'The game was actually lost by that little pass from Ross Cronjé that missed Courtnall Skosan and was intercepted by Rieko Ioane for an 80m run-in. And then obviously Damian de Allende’s late charge on Lima Sopoaga, which cost the Boks three points and a red card. When you look at it, those little details add up and are the difference in the end.

'Just a mention for Malcolm Marx, who did some fantastic work at turnover time, as did Francois Louw. In terms of an 80-minute performance, Marx was absolutely immense. He made four or five turnovers, created scoring opportunities, and with Handré Pollard’s break it was his support play and pass that led to Jean-Luc du Preez’s try. And then Marx scored a try himself from the back of a driving maul and he threw in beautifully in the lineouts.

COMMENT: Marx, Etzebeth led brave Bok effort

'Eben Etzebeth had a great game too and Pieter-Steph du Toit with ball in hand played really well. I thought our scrummaging was outstanding. The only issue is that our passes are still going too deep to Elton Jantjies. When he is on the gainline, the Boks look so much more impressive than when he takes those passes deep in the pocket.

'If Jantjies had gotten that ball from Cronjé from 5m out in the first half, we’d have had a good opportunity to recycle and score in the left-hand corner.

'The try from Jantjies’ charged-down kick was an interesting decision. I thought the No 9 should have kicked from the base there, but be that as it may, it was an interesting decision to award the try nonetheless.

'I actually phoned up Mark Lawrence, who is the head of refereeing in South Africa, to get his opinion. His ruling is that once you have possession, even just touching the ball when it’s in the air, you are deemed to have control of possession. Ryan Crotty does lose possession, then it goes to ground and his stomach hits the ball. So according to Lawrence that ball was lost forward and should have been a scrum down and not a try.

'It was interesting that the TMO repeatedly looked at it before awarding the try. I feel very sorry for the viewers out there because it was a really tight call. I’m sure South Africans would have said no try and New Zealanders would have said try.'

COLUMN: Halfbacks hurting Bok cause

Photo: @Springboks/Twitter

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