What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Test between Wales and the Springboks.
‘I thought Wales played with a lot of intelligence. They realised we had a very dominant lineout so they kept the ball in play. After 50 minutes, we only had three throws in the lineout. Their discipline was good. They weren’t penalised for offsides. They did tackle well and went in to contest all the time so they slowed down our ball and they made far fewer mistakes than we did.
‘Let’s give them credit, they looked more dangerous with ball in hand. When they decided to bring [Dan] Biggar on, they looked as though they were not going to lose it at the end of the game. They controlled the tempo and were the better team on the field today.
‘From our point of view, we had a really poor 10 minutes [in the first half]. A one-on-one tackle like that is inexcusable to miss at international level. [Malcolm] Marx is a very good player, he just got sold a dummy, which you shouldn’t do with a forward. Whether someone dummies or not, you still tackle him. Unfortunately, the positioning of our defence was poor on their [second] try. Those 14 points happened so quickly, we really battled to get back in the game.
‘We did not take the three points at the end of the half and we got some rough calls at the end from the referee, which is understandable when you play away from home. Their player dived on [Aphiwe] Dyantyi on the ground. That is a penalty, you are not allowed to dive on a player on the ground. The referee awards [Justin] Tipuric with a penalty, that should be a penalty to us.
‘Then there is an incident towards the end of the game where their scrumhalf picked up the ball and tries to play after they made a break. Their scrumhalf comes in, picks the ball up, it is in his hands so we are allowed to tackle him and the referee penalises us for offsides. The rules are very clear – if the ball is on the ground and it has not been picked up, then you cannot tackle the scrumhalf. But if the ball is up off the ground, in the scrumhalf’s hands, you can tackle him.
‘I am not complaining about it, but those were two decisions at the end of the game. It would not have affected the result because Wales were better today.
‘It [exhaustion] is a problem for the southern hemisphere in November. It is a problem for European teams who come out in June to us. England did not look great and we beat them. It is just difficult at the end of the season to go on tour. I thought this tour had gone really well up until this evening. I really thought we deserved to beat England, we were probably a bit lucky against France but won, and beat Scotland. It was looking really good. Two out of four is unlucky for the effort that they put in.
‘This was comfortably the Springboks’ worst performance. Wales played very well, controlled the ball well and played intelligent rugby. They never looked in danger of losing possession when they had it. They kept on putting us under pressure, phase after phase after phase. We would either give a penalty away, or as we did in the first half those two tries. You have to take your hat off to them, they played well, and whether you like it or not they are five wins out of six against us. That is why they are third and we are fifth [in the World rankings].
‘Out of all the games we have played this year, we have been in every single game. England at Newlands was one of the few where we had lost it with 20 minutes to go. Even in this game, there were three points in it until a couple of decisions went against us. We should have won in England and in Pretoria [against the All Blacks], where we were ahead with five minutes to go. In every single game we have played, including Australia away, we were in the game. There have been no blowouts, no embarrassing 30-points-to-three losses, which we have had to endure over the past two seasons. That is something to cling to as a Springbok supporter. This team plays with a lot more guts, and going into the World Cup will be a lot more confident than they were this year.
‘We can be excited by the fact that we have got a united team, a team with good leaders. Siya [Kolisi] was thrown in the deep end against England and he has come through really nicely, supported by people like [Duane] Vermeulen and [Handré] Pollard, who has established himself as a leader. Willie le Roux has been running that back three. Our pack of forwards can match anyone in the world, it is just a question of whether we can score the tries that we need to. We did against New Zealand, but really battled on this tour.
‘This World Cup will be the closest of all time. There won’t ever have been eight teams that will get into the quarter-finals, all with a possibility of getting through to the semis. In the past it used to be New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and one other semi-finalist. The eight teams will be pushing each other to get to the semi-final.’
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