What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks’ 41-7 win over Japan on Friday.
‘We said before kick off the way to play this game was to play territory, have a controlled kicking game and good set piece and to not break it into a touch rugby game.
‘And in the first half that was exactly what they did. South Africa scored tries confidently from two set-piece moves and also a turnover to lead 22-0. The second half was a little bit scrappier and loose with the replacements coming on. So there was an against-the-run-of-play try for Japan, which proved what they can do if a game loosens up.
‘Ironically, the Springboks scored two tries when they were down to 14 players and that shows the heart and the competitive edge that this team has developed. They don’t like losing and they don’t like conceding tries.
‘I think Rassie Erasmus is very aware of the fact that by the time you get a team that is kicking to the corner and not taking points, your team can risk playing on the offside line and risk making a steal because you want to put pressure on the ball-carrier and force a mistake.
‘The interception from Cheslin Kolbe was so well read. They [Japan] were looking to get it wide all the time and our wing spotted the opportunity. Then there’s Herschel Jantjies, who you just can’t keep off the scoresheet. Again, it was a scrappy ball knocked forward, Jantjies turned it over and beat two defenders and found the field open after that.
‘It was just a good performance. I thought a 20-point win would be good and they [the Springboks] were appreciably well over that mark. There’s a calmness about this Bok team and there’s so much talking and communication both on attack and defence that hasn’t been there over the past few seasons. So it is all very positive.
‘I hate the phrase ticking boxes, but South Africa did that against Japan and will go into the World Cup in a good space.’