What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport after the Rugby Championship match between the Springboks and All Blacks in Pretoria.
‘It was absolutely heartbreaking because the Boks led until the final try. It was a draw at half-time [6-6], we got into a 30-13 lead with about 15 minutes to go. We had an opportunity to score and Ardie Savea turned the ball over on their line.
‘A bit of ill-discipline crept into our game. We had a couple of turnovers at the breakdown, they had a few phenomenal kicks into the corner. We have to compliment this All Blacks team. It is heartbreaking for the Springboks who play so phenomenally, but let’s give credit to the All Blacks.
‘When they decided to hold onto the ball among their forwards, with the close quarter driving play that they have, every player had a support play on his shoulder. It doesn’t matter if they made half a metre or a metre, they scored two tries from it. We had similar situations and we turned the ball over. So their close-quarter control of the ball and a bit of ill-discipline from us won them the game.
‘I think the supporters understand that South Africa are on the up and up. We have had quite a few years of disillusionment. Heyneke Meyer only managed to win one against the All Blacks and Allister Coetzee zero. We took a couple of 50-pointers, which demoralises the support, so we have a bit of trepidation before we say the Boks can win. After these two showings, scoring 36 points away and 30 points at home, we are definitely back.
‘A technical point on the last two tries that they scored: that had a lot to do with experience. Their forwards drive past the ball. So the player goes to ground and the cleaner goes well past the ball. The next guy that picks and goes, runs into that hole. Its so closely packed together that it’s hard to call it obstruction.
Perhaps we stick too closely to the laws, we clean over the ball, they clean past the ball and that opens up the opportunity. It is hard to see, but that is the kind of experience we will learn in a year under Rassie [Erasmus].
‘A word on some of the youngsters. We didn’t know who [Aphiwe] Dyantyi was last year. He has been absolutely sensational, scoring six or seven tries, putting his body on the line and is so competitive. We have [Lukhanyo] Am who has come through and played a brilliant game in Wellington, and Damian Willemse. If you saw the step Willemse had and the offload to [Franco] Mostert, there was another [potential] try.
‘We really need to compliment South Africa on their performance today. It is really hard to swallow this because we had this game in the bag. New Zealand must have felt the same when they lost to us. But it has been two great games of rugby between two top teams.
‘Now it looks as though we can challenge them [the All Blacks] again in a World Cup game. It also means we are going to be more of a threat to England when we play away. So we can look forward to that with a lot more confidence.’
Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images