What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport after the Rugby Championship game between the Springboks and Wallabies in Port Elizabeth.
‘There were opportunities we missed again today. There was such a good moment there when we got away down the left. There was just a little knock-on there in the pass between Siya [Kolisi] and Pieter-Steph [du Toit]. If we hold on to that, we score, it is 30 points to 12 and suddenly it is looking very comfortable.
‘Let’s give credit to Australia. I thought in the second half, it must have been 20 minutes we spent in our half and every time we tried to exit, we seemed to give a penalty away or make a silly error.
‘What a period of courageous play, though, when we held them out with 14 men.
‘That counter-attack which got [Cheslin] Kolbe away … he has so much pace, he had broken through and had one man [Israel Folau] to beat. A kick-ahead there might have been the option rather than the step.
‘I have never been to this stadium for a Test match before. In fact, I have never been to a live game in a while because it is always in studio, but it is really exceptional. When you get crowd participation like this, it is a 16th player or even a 17th player. Although the referee had a very good game and was not influenced by the crowd; it is a very, very intimidating atmosphere here when you get a united South Africa behind the team as we saw today.
‘I am so happy the result went our way. We can quibble about the quality of the game, but if we had lost after that wonderful win in New Zealand, then next week we are back to square one again. This was such a good win for the team and the coaching staff. It leads in so nicely for Pretoria next week where we have an absolutely passionate crowd as well. I hope we will turn out and support the Boks.
‘When we gave away penalties, invariably it was in our 22 because we were under pressure and I think we gave three or four away and that is why poor [Aphiwe] Dyantyi got yellow-carded. It was a team warning and he went in off his feet and the referee adjudged it as one too many.
‘You have to keep the penalty count low and you do that by not playing in your 22.
‘What was interesting was the tackle count. Today it was 148 to 70. So we are playing at home in front of a home crowd but we didn’t have the ball for a lot of the time so that is a worry for next week.
‘The defensive system that we have in place forces our forwards to work very hard. When you get someone like Eben Etzebeth making as many tackles as well, that’s hard work given he is jumping in the lineouts, scrumming and making 10 to 15 tackles.
‘Having been a coach, it is not the question over whether you need the money or not, you want your side to be the best in the world. He [Michael Cheika] clearly does. He is clearly very passionate and wants to bring Australian rugby back to being in the top three in the world. He works very hard at it.
‘I never mind seeing emotion or disappointment on a coach’s face. I think he has matured in that I am sure he used to be a ranter and a raver, he is probably a bit better now. The players are performing and trying their best. Sometimes you are coaching a side that isn’t filled with world-class players. It is quite hard, they didn’t take their opportunities either today. He must be very disappointed.
‘I must congratulate Rassie [Erasmus]. It is a very tough job and after a couple of losses against Argentina and Australia, to bounce back with an away win against New Zealand and a good home win against a decent Australia side that pushed us is outstanding. Let’s hope he can carry that through to New Zealand. It is going to be a very hard game for us in Pretoria but I have a lot of confidence for the courage and intensity of this team.
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