‘All Blacks most innovative team’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks’ match against the All Blacks.

‘We were sitting here and literally a minute before the All Blacks scored on the stroke of half-time, you would have said they would have been happy to go into half-time only 10-3 down. But suddenly with the last move of the half it was 10-10. So how much happier would they have been after that? It’s these opportunities that just make the difference between us and them. This was a fabulous Test match.

‘If I can discuss some statistics that show how well South Africa played besides a few moments … Kicks out of hand, New Zealand 20 South Africa 19, metres run we had 416, they had 454, clean breaks we had nine they had seven. Then 117 carries to their 103, defenders beaten we had 29 to their 18. We only made 105 tackles, they made 117, and that happens very seldom against the All Blacks. The real problem was 11 knock-ons from South Africa and only four for the All Blacks. It just turns on that skill level … It was just the class of this All Blacks team that took it away at the end.

‘The [final] try that the All Blacks scored, they had an opportunity to go from 20-17 to 20-20, but they kicked to the corner and came up with a lineout move that no one has seen ever. It was brilliant; they are the most innovative team in the world. We’ve never seen that and we didn’t know how to defend against it. Every game they come up with these fantastic new moves, it worked so well … They take seven points and win the game because of that courage; it’s their ability to come up with new ways to score tries that’s better than ours.

‘When the All Blacks beat Argentina and we lost to Australia [last weekend] that was pretty much it [for the Rugby Championship title]. But I’m not too worried about that, it’s more about the preparation for the World Cup.

‘I must ask a question … We had to substitute a player for blood, the new player [Trevor Nyakane] has played a number of games at tighthead [prop] for his Super Rugby team, the Bulls … So explain to me how he [the referee] can decide it’s uncontested scrums. Trevor Nyakane has played a number of games there and he’s comfortable in that position. We were playing against seven forwards, and could have put them under severe pressure, but the referee took away that weapon … Just because he covers loosehead doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of playing at tighthead. It’s only if he’s technically incapable of playing in that position that you’d go to uncontested scrums.

‘We have two centres who can compete at the breakdown, as does [Handré] Pollard, so it’s not just the loose trio … But if we had to look at the final play before half-time it was a key moment … And another key moment was when the All Blacks had a yellow card, we have to come away with points. They would do that against us, but we had two opportunities to kick penalties which we turned down, and we weren't able to get the pushover try. And we weren't able to score from a driving lineout, those were big missed opportunities and today was about big missed opportunities. We don't have to go and change our playing style.'

Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

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Nick Mallett