‘Lambie, Pollard the future’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springbok victory over the All Blacks at Ellis Park.

On what the win means moving forward

'What a Test match. It can't get better than that, can it? South Africa played some of the best rugby I've seen them play in that first half, but the All Blacks showed their championship quality the way they came back at them in the second half.

'These are the two best teams in the world. The Springboks haven't won the World Cup, but they've taken a massive step forward with victory here. This win against New Zealand would've done wonders for their confidence. They've got the monkey off their back. It may only be one out of six that we've won [against the All Blacks], but we've shown that the gap is closing.'

On the Springboks game plan

'There was good variation on the play from the Boks. We kept it in hand when we needed to and our kicking game showed massive improvement. We put pressure on the All Blacks when we kicked and when they kicked, we held onto possession.

'The Boks kicked 15 times out of hand today and lost possession 10 times. The All Blacks kicked 14 times and lost possession on 12 occasions. The Boks also scored two tries that were a direct result of good kicks. It was an impressive kicking performance and justification for this group of players and the coaching staff.'

On the Springbok substitutions

'During the second half we were under tremendous pressure. I thought that during the first half – the way that Handré Pollard and Francois Hougaard played, the way the pack played, the way the backs played – there was so much certainty about what we did, both on attack and defence.

'The changes that were made after 55 minutes halted our momentum. I think that what was on the mind of the coaching staff was how we fell away during the last 10 minutes last year. There was a comment made that our tight forwards didn't manage to stay with the All Blacks that day. So they thought let's get on five or six fresh players and that they could carry the momentum through to the end of the match.

'While the bench didn't dramatically change the game like last week, we held the All Blacks out in an area where they've been traditionally strong.'

On Pollard and Lambie

'We've grown the group of players that are confident of stepping up into the Springbok jersey. There wasn't a Handré Pollard or a Jan Serfontein last year, Pat Lambie was in and out of fullback

'Heyneke made a very brave decision to pick Pollard at 10 for the Test in New Zealand. Thankfully, he had a great game. He then played well against Australia, and Lambie came on and made a big impact. Finally today we produced a complete performance with two young flyhalves. I think that the decision now about who is going to play flyhalf for South Africa is between Pollard and Lambie.

'Morné Steyn has served this country tremendously well, we can't take anything away from his penalty kicking and his calmness under pressure. In terms of physicality, game-management, defence and all-round skills, we've got two very good young flyhalves that have come out of this Rugby Championship.'

On Liam Messam's shoulder charge

'The referee didn't call for that high tackle on Schalk Burger. It was played on the screen [in the stadium] and the referee saw it and wanted to have another look at it. Where are we going with the use of technology? We're playing in South Africa, therefore our producer puts up footage of a high tackle. In Australia that wouldn't have been shown. It's a difficult one, because the referee has seen the infringement because it has been put up on the big screen and not because he, or the TMO, or the touch judge noticed it on the field.'

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

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Nick Mallett