What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks’ 23-13 loss to the All Blacks in Yokohama on Saturday.
Let’s doff our cap first of all to the All Blacks, who were able to take small opportunities and turned them into try-scoring chances in a flash. They have players in support all the time. When Cheslin Kolbe got away, South Africa had no players in support on the inside.
We got to compliment them on the way they played in the first half. But for South Africa to come back and score more points than them in the second half was a positive. If things had gone badly in the second half, it could have been 34-3 with the Boks ending up being humiliatingly crushed. But luckily they weren’t.
I’ve got so much complimentary things to say about Kolbe, who I thought was South Africa’s player of the game. He was absolutely brilliant every time he had the ball. Pieter-Steph du Toit was also excellent.
The two disappointing Springboks were Faf de Klerk and Willie le Roux. They were both below their normal abilities. And with De Klerk having an off day, it would have been good to give Herschel Jantjies more game time. Le Roux couldn’t catch an up-and-under the whole of the first half and sadly he had an opportunity to put Kolbe away in the corner, but threw the ball on the ground.
But we must have a chat about referee Jerome Garces and the breakdown, which he didn’t handle well and it cost the Springboks in the end. The penalty to the All Blacks at the end should have been a penalty to the Boks. There was a 10-to-two penalty count against the Boks, which is an unusually high count, especially in a tight game where ball carries, tackle and territorial statistics were all similar. That was scandalous.
On the one occasion when Beauden Barrett went to ground, Duane Vermeulen had full rights to the ball because he wasn’t the tackler and he had been at the ruck. Actually, there was no ruck. How could that not be a penalty? How could the referee play on from that situation?
The All Blacks then ended up getting a penalty because the Boks were offside, which they kick at goal instead of us getting a penalty and kicking it out of the 22 and having an opportunity to attack. Garces said play on, but there was no play on. There were players diving in from the side, they were off their feet and on their knees, and the ref said play on because he wanted a flowing game. But that was – or should have been – a penalty to South Africa 10 times out of 10.
I strongly believe we shouldn’t take a backward step after this result. It was only a speed bump. It was a fantastic contest and people mustn’t go away thinking this was a terrible result.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets