What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Tests between France and the Springboks and England and the All Blacks.
France vs Springboks
‘At half-time, we were saying we had hardly had an attacking opportunity. It meandered along in that second half, going nowhere. I thought the replacements, when they came on, made a real difference. [Elton] Jantjies at 10 gave us a much better attacking option. We were playing catch-up rugby but he is the right player to do that. [Francois] Louw and Bongi [Mbonambi] were fantastic. RG Snyman had a very good game as well. The impact of the subs, they were all important.
‘The key moment was when Nigel Owens recognised the clock was still ticking and he said put it back 30 seconds. When you consider that kick [from Jantjies] that was carried out and the flag went up and he said, “Did the flag go up before the hooter?” Had there been 30 seconds gone, that would have been the game.
‘Well done to Bongi. Four good lineouts. They were all those long lineouts which are difficult to take and a final great driving maul try.
‘But it was not a great quality game and lots of very poor kicking from the Boks, really poor. Faf [de Klerk] and Willie [le Roux] did not have good games today. I didn’t think Faf, in particular, had very inaccurate kicking.
‘It was great to see when we did hold the ball in hand at the end of the game, that we could be a little more dangerous. We had [Cheslin] Kolbe’s missed try which was bad luck, I thought he had scored there.
‘I didn’t think Siya [Kolisi] had his best game. Unfortunately, it was a strange first half where we never got into the game, we never got the ball into situations where he could have those linebreaks. The physicality of the French pack took Siya out of the game. It was the same with [Warren] Whiteley, both were not really big factors in this game.
‘As we got RG [Snyman] on [at lock], we got Pieter-Steph [du Toit] to [blindside] flank and Louw [to openside]. There was a lot of physicality. Our ability to contest the breakdown and to win the tight battles improved.
‘Before the tour, I thought three wins would be an excellent tour. I was actually worried about this game after that disappointment last week where we could have so easily won that game. I was worried about the reaction from the team to a disappointing loss. Siya’s right, they did stick to their guns and to win this will give us a nice filler before those last two weeks.
‘There is no doubt Scotland is a good side, they beat Fiji convincingly [54-17], and Wales are a decent side above us in the rankings. Those are tough games and had we gone from an unlucky loss last week to a poor game this week, suddenly that becomes a really tricky last two weeks.
‘You saw the joy on the faces. Relief from the coaching staff and absolute pleasure from the players. It is going to carry them through the next two weeks.’
England vs All Blacks
‘[The offside call against Courtney Lawes] has to be when it is picked up and not when his [TJ Perenara] hands are on the ball. The ball has to be picked off the ground and he [Lawes] can’t start running from halfway up the ruck.
‘England can count themselves very lucky for the win they got against us last weekend, because the referee did not consult with his TMO. Had the TMO had the opportunity to go through it – like Marius Jonker [in the Paris Test], who had the patience and the time to go through it and make a logical and correct decision – but instead the referee took control and said “don’t worry, I am quite happy I made the right decision”, which turned out to be the wrong one.
‘England were leading 15-0 at one point but the All Blacks have the ability to think on their feet. They countered that driving maul rapidly. In the second half, England tried two driving mauls, but they got men behind the ball and stopped it. England were dominating the lineout in the first half and Brodie Retallick really made a difference in contesting.’
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP Photo