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Nick Mallett

‘SA ball skills are poor’


Bismarck du Plessis goes into contact at Kings Park Bismarck du Plessis goes into contact at Kings Park

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Saturday's matches at Kings Park and Newlands.

KINGS PARK

'There is not much to talk about in this game, it was a really scrappy match. There were two positives for the Sharks. Beast [Mtawarira] made some really good runs that punched holes in the Cheetahs' defence, and he was very strong in the scrums, which gave the Sharks some momentum at times. The second positive is young flyhalf Tim Swiel's performance. He is the third-choice flyhalf but we could see his talent when he made three really good breaks and the most telling one resulted in the Jean Deysel try.

'I thought Frans Steyn could have taken the pressure off the youngster by taking the kicking duties early on and ease Swiel into the game, but he was good and showed the form that made him a highly rated U20 player. If one team in this competition can manage to play error-free rugby they might actually beat the Sharks. They need to improve on this performance next week before they head on a very tricky tour.'

'Our ball skills in South Africa are still very poor and this is a plea to our high school coaches to put more emphasis on the timing of the passing and running straight rather than running cross-field. I am not surprised that [Heyneke] Meyer and the Boks have such a limited game plan because you can't ask these players to go out and play an expansive game of rugby when they don't possess the necessary ball skills, like our New Zealand counter parts.'

NEWLANDS

'We saw a Stormers side that was exciting and willing to keep ball in hand in that first half. Jean de Villiers and Damian de Allende were very good in terms of finding the space and putting other players into space. De Allende was instrumental in setting up the Nizaam Carr try by putting in a little step which drew in two defenders and he timed his pass well to put Carr in.

'Deon Fourie was very fortunate to be on the field until the end of the game. [Referee] Stuart Berry warned him after penalising him for a breakdown infringement, but Fourie infringed straight after that but survived. The second half was also exciting but all skill was lost, guys were not straightening and running across the field.'

'The Lions lost a lineout organiser in Warren Whiteley at the 11th hour, which was evident in the chaotic nature of their lineouts today. Robbie Coetzee struggled to find his jumpers. The Lions need a rest before they head on tour. Faf de Klerk was also lucky to be on the park, with that intended stamp. If you remember, Bismarck du Plessis escaped a sanction in the Currie Cup for deliberately stamping on a player, De Klerk might have missed the player with his foot but the intent was there.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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