‘Boks are a B division team’

What former Bok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks' 23-17 defeat to Australia in Brisbane.

'Both teams tried hard, but it was just a good little battle between two B division sides. It wasn’t as though they were playing for the Championship. They were just trying to fight their way out of a corner and South Africa unfortunately came out second best.

'I’m just concerned about the fact that a poor Australian side, lacking confidence after being shown up by England and New Zealand, created more scoring opportunities than we did. The Boks had an opportunity, especially going 14-3 up, to get a win away from home and they couldn’t do the job.

'These two teams and Argentina are around about the same standard. And compared to what the Boks are going to face next week, it’s like night and day. The New Zealanders do not miss opportunities like the Boks and the Wallabies missed in Brisbane.

'We had an encouraging start, with good, accurate carrying in the leadup to the first try. But remember, our second try came from an Australian error where Bernard Foley took the ball far too flat and then tried to throw a skip pass. We had Adriaan Strauss intercept it and from there managed to get to 14. If Australia had executed better and gotten that pass away slightly earlier, they would have scored. Which is why I say both teams made tactical and individual errors.

'Our biggest tactital mishap was persisting with up and unders on Israel Folau. He is one of the best players in the world under the high ball and he didn’t drop any today. Why didn’t we target their weakest receiver of an up and under? They were using Quade Cooper on the wing because they were worried about his defence at flyhalf, so off any set phase he was pushed out wide. Why didn’t we manipulate a kick on to the openside wing which he would have had to take? Or why didn’t we at least try chips and grubbers to bring Folau forward as opposed to the up and unders, where his aerial skills are so good?

'In order to win Test matches, you have to have good decision-makers. There must be people who can take control of the game. The inside centre, flyhalf, scrumhalf, No 8 and No 2. The spine of your team. I think we’ve got fairly quiet and inexperienced players in those positions at the moment.

'The team must have an understanding and feeling for what their flyhalf is going to do. That is why Elton Jantjies is so good when he plays for the Lions. They understand his running lines and know when to pop up as dummy runners. The Springboks just haven’t got the timing right. They’ve got to understand that you can only start running on to the ball once the flyhalf has it. If you start running prior to him getting the ball, you won’t get the timing right.

'He [Jantjies] is good on attack, but I’m more worried about his defence. He missed six tackles before this game and slipped tackles in the leadup to both of Australia’s tries. Defensively, he must up his game.'

Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

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Nick Mallett