What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks’ humiliating 38-3 defeat against Ireland in Dublin.
‘Unfortunately this was a thrashing. We were given a real – as they say in Afrikaans – pakslae. We lost by 57-0 to New Zealand and afterwards we heard the coaching staff saying we could take some positives out of it. I’ll tell you what, I cannot see any positives to be taken out of this game. I don’t care how positive you are as a personality; there are no positives out of this game.
‘I’m trying not to be emotional. Our backline attack and defence were non-existent today. Our defence was incredibly naive. We were drawn into every single runaround. They even played a wide ball and a pass back inside to a player and our defence was nowhere. Our backline defence was exceptionally poor.
‘The midfield attack – the two centres [Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel] – showed absolutely no ability to straighten, catch or pass, which is the basics of international rugby.
‘You can play touch rugby against a player and within five minutes you can tell whether that player understands space, timing and depth, both when he has the ball in two hands and when he is a support runner. I don’t think Damian de Allende or Jesse Kriel understand space or running straight or running lines. I think they are big, strong and powerful centres, who do not have a feel for the game of rugby.
‘Unfortunately, De Allende looked woefully out of form. He has been picked – and one wonders why – on reputation. He certainly hasn’t played enough games to warrant selection.
‘Just before the end of the game, I thought perhaps what we could have done is play Handré Pollard at inside centre, like a second five-eighth. With Elton Jantjies at No 10 and Pollard at 12, that’s two flyhalves and decision-makers with good distribution skills, who would have given us both a right-footed and left-footed kicking game.
‘Our flyhalf and scrumhalf play a completely different game when they play for the Lions, which is a fast passing game. They were asked to kick tactically today and Ross Cronjé in particular can’t do it. It’s just not their game. His kicks were inaccurate, either too short or too long and we didn’t have the chasers to put the opposition under pressure like we were put under pressure.
‘Then we go to our pack of forwards, who started OK. But I can’t get away from those last 10 minutes when we were just steamrolled by the Irish pack. They won a scrum penalty against us for three points, then they did a rolling maul and drove us over the line. We conceded yards on defence and were very blunt on attack, with the forwards running off No 9 and just going to ground. They never gained any momentum.
‘It was a very disappointing display. What really worries me is this is the first game in a really long tour. So if you get a big hiding in the opening game, you then have to pick yourself up for a game against France, who like Ireland, are a different beast when playing at home.
‘The Bok coaching staff and players have to get together quickly in order to put up a better performance next week. But in analysing this performance, there was nothing in this game that I could possibly say would make me confident about this side going into the next Test against France.
‘The one thing we mentioned after the Test against the All Blacks is Cape Town, is that when our backs are to the wall and everyone has written us off, the Boks can produce a once-off performance with frightening intensity, but they can’t do it on a regular weekly basis. Our intensity wasn’t there against Ireland, that is why we defended and attacked liked we did.’
‘I am feeling a bit of sympathy for this team. There are not many leaders in this team. They’ve made Eben Etzebeth captain, but he is not captain of the Stormers. They made him captain because of his experience and because he is respected in the side. His is very young and inexperienced at international level as a leader. And there isn’t a Warren Whiteley, who is a proper captain with the ability to rally people around.’
Photo: Paul Faith/AFP Photo