Nick Mallett says the All Blacks can upset the Springboks in Nelspruit on Saturday by dominating the world champions in one key facet of the game.
In his Sport24 column, the former Bok coach argues that if New Zealand stopped the hosts from building momentum at scrum time, Ian Foster’s troops would be well placed to win the opening match of the 2022 Rugby Championship.
“There is no doubt that the All Blacks will be fired up for this, and given that they have a great skill set, they will score if given half a chance,” writes Mallett. “If they can get their physicality up, which I imagine will be no problem, then I think they will be right in this.
“It all starts with no penalties at scrum time, and this is one area where the All Blacks will have to concentrate more than any other.
“If they deprive South Africa of scrum penalties, they do not only give themselves a chance of staying in the game but also affect South Africa’s ability to make the impact they need.
“The Boks’ whole gameplan is based around winning set-piece penalties so they can set up their territorial dominance and put teams under pressure.
“The All Blacks should know that the Boks will look for the double shove at every scrum, even when they have secured the ball. They’ll have to scrum, and scrum, until the referee says ‘Play it, South Africa’ from the base.
“That single area, for me, will decide who wins this game.”
Bok right wing Kurt-Lee Arendse will face the All Blacks for the first time in his second Test appearance, opposite powerful Kiwi No 11 Caleb Clarke – and Mallett has tipped Arendse for a big performance in Nelspruit.
“I’ve watched him a lot in the United Rugby Championship, and he is an exceptionally brave guy. His defence is superb, and he goes straight for the knees and is as quickly in for the tackle as I’ve seen any player commit.
“He has played fullback and wing, is good under the high ball, and has absolutely boundless courage and energy. I don’t have any concerns here, and if they kick on him or run at him, I don’t think it will present a problem. He is fully capable of handling both.”
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