‘Carr, Le Roux made the difference’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks' victory over Italy in Padova.

On the Springboks' performance

'It was a very stuttering performance by the Boks. We played into the hands of a physical, defensive side like Italy. When Italy had the ball they showed more variety and skill, with the ball going through the hands more than our backline did. We were our own worst enemies with our running lines – particularly Jan Serfontein, who goes straight across the field instead of straightening and creating space.

'Had Nizaam Carr and Willie le Roux not come onto the field it might've been 8-6 and the Italians might've stuck a penalty over to embarrass us. They seem to be the two players who run at shoulders, are capable of breaking the line and have the ability to find the offload.

'We didn't take our opportunities in the first half. JP Pietersen might've had a try in the first half but Pat Lambie's pass was a bit short. Had he scored there, we'd have got ourselves 14 points ahead of them and the game would've had a different feel to it.'

On the substitutions

'I thought Heyneke Meyer missed a beat with the substitutions. We took Trevor Nyakane off, who was scrumming very well against Martin Castrogiovanni, to bring on a non-scrummager in Gurthrö Steenkamp. He's good in the tight-loose but he's not a good scrummager. And then we brought on Julian Redelinghuys – a good scrummager – and took off Coenie Oosthuizen.

'It would've been ideal to give Nyakane 80 minutes and get Redelinghuys in there with Bismarck du Plessis, and then we might've dominated the scrums. But by taking off Nyakane and getting on Steenkamp we had an unbalanced scrum for the full 80 minutes.'

On the breakdown

'The breakdown today was very similar to the breakdown against Ireland which was slow and a little bit messy. The referee didn't seem to want to penalise the home team for going off their feet, for pulling the scrumhalf in, for generally causing mayhem at the breakdown. It's like playing Argentina away from home, they are all over you and they make it very difficult for you to play a structured game.'

On referee Jerome Garces

'I coached for nine years in France. I know French referees like the back of my hand. They are very, very concerned about penalising the home team. They will give the home team a lot of leeway. In France, it's very unusual for the away team to win.

'Duane Vermeulen went in on a number of occasions to challenge for the ball and the referee said “Beaten by the ruck”. Bismarck didn't roll away from Sergio Parisse after the cross-kick. The referee was strict on our players, but when they were transgressing he tended to ignore it. We conceded twice as many penalties as they did and that made a big difference to the flow of our game.'

Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images

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