‘Hougaard stepped up’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springbok victory over Australia at Newlands.

'It was a tremendous Test match. We were entertained for every second. There were very few scrums, quick lineouts were taken and there were exceptional periods of phase play. Both sides took the ball through 15-plus phases of interplay between backs and forwards. The ball would go wide, they would come short, there was real variety.

'I thought the discipline was outstanding, from both sides. The Springboks were only penalised four times in the entire match, that's an extraordinary statistic.

'I was so pleased for Francois Hougaard, who has had a lot of pressure in terms of whether he can step up to Test match level. He played the sort of game that we've been wanting him to play, quick passing and taking on the fringe defenders. 

'There was a period after 60 minutes when we were down 10-8. The Australians had a 20-minute period in the second half where we were under a lot of pressure in our 22, and we held them out.

'Then the guys came off the bench. The influx of new players was critical to the way we finished. Schalk Burger made an immense contribution for 20 minutes and Duane Vermeulen was outstanding for the other 60 minutes. I thought Pat Lambie handled the last 20 minutes wonderfully well. Apart from his try, there was his little kick into the corner to calm things down and the drop that he took to get us ahead.

'There's been a mindset shift in this team and the coaching staff, in that they understand that in order to beat New Zealand and become No 1 in the world, we have to be more threatening than one-off runners and box kicking. What was fantastic was to see the players capable of doing it. It was a very good performance by the Boks and a great couple of tries at the end just to put the icing on the cake.'

Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images

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Nick Mallett