What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the past weekend’s Super Rugby matches involving South African teams.
Sunwolves vs Stormers
‘In the final play of the game, the Stormers used another set of three forwards playing off nine. They must have done that 12 to 15 times, holding on to the ball, not creating any difficulty whatsoever for the Sunwolves defence. As soon as the Sunwolves get the ball they start looking for space. They try a little chip, which works. They don’t play forwards short off nine, they move the ball the width of the field.
‘When they got into the Stormers 22, the flyhalf [Hayden Parker] had already decided that when there was an opportunity, he would take a drop goal. You have got to give full credit to them, firstly for playing with the ambition to score a try and then to the flyhalf for having the sense to get into position for a left-footed drop goal. It was a fantastic finish to the game and it put paid, in my view, to the Stormers’ chances this year. It has been a very disappointing year for the Stormers.
‘The Stormers had to win this game, there is no point in getting a draw. They are not going to win it by playing forwards off nine for two minutes after time was up. It [the 10m line] is the easiest place to make a double tackle and get a turnover. After a while, that is what happened. The Sunwolves got the turnover, played with width, put a kick in, recovered the ball, played with width again, created a situation where Parker could take a drop and won the game.
‘It is a lesson for South African sides, play to win until the referee blows the final whistle. Don’t try to hold onto the ball like that, you will end up giving the ball away.’
Sharks vs Chiefs
‘It was a game that promised so much for the Sharks. They created plenty of opportunities in the first half and scored a beautiful try, their first try was a wonderful one. They showed patience, did not push passes, kept their depth and ran straight.
‘But it was a game so typical of the Sharks this season, tainted by a number of handling errors which just broke down their momentum. They were leading nicely at the end, 28-17, but it leaves a sour taste in the mouth for them to concede the last try.
‘They have beaten three New Zealand sides, though [Blues, Highlanders and Chiefs], and should have beaten a fourth [the Hurricanes], so they are a team that won’t be concerned about playing a New Zealand team should they get into the quarter-finals.’
Lions vs Brumbies
‘I thought it was a bit tight at 28-24, we were a bit nervous. The Brumbies did very well as they had very little possession. They only had 48% possession in the whole game and only 45% territory. They had to make 141 tackles, so they really had to defend the whole game.
‘Unfortunately, they got on the wrong side of referee Nick Briant. They gave away 19 penalties to nine from the Lions. Of course, the most important was that they gave away a red card and then a yellow card, so the Lions played for 10 minutes against 13 men, which made a big difference. It wasn’t possible for the Brumbies to hold them out.
‘It was an unsatisfactory game; there were lots of handling mistakes from both teams, much like the Sharks game. The Lions promised a lot through a couple of good tries, then left a bit disappointed through the errors.’
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