‘Outstanding win for Lions’

What former Bok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the past weekend's Super Rugby matches involving South African teams.

Sharks vs Lions

‘I thought this was an outstanding win for the Lions. The Sharks are a very good defensive side in Durban, but they didn’t create enough opportunities [to score points], especially in the second half, and after that the Lions closed them out. The Lions handled the referee [Angus Gardner] far better than the Sharks did, the penalty count was heavily in the Lions’ favour. The Lions just look as though they understand what they are doing. This result will be very disappointing for Sharks supporters, because their team is now going on a series of games that will be a tough examination; they play three New Zealand sides, come back for a week and then go play the Jaguares away.

‘Coenie Oosthuizen is an international tighthead prop, who was substituted early because he was getting smashed in the scrum. In fact, the Sharks only won their first scrum penalty subsequent to Oosthuizen being taken off, so his substitution actually stabilised the Sharks scrum. And his tackle on Lionel Mapoe was diabolical. He really needs to get his head right.’

Bulls vs Kings

‘This was the Bulls’ best performance of the past four weeks. They struggled in the wins over the Sunwolves and Cheetahs and they drew with the Sharks. In this game, they put together a performance that had a lot of good variety to it. The forwards played good rugby, particularly the locks RG Snyman and Jason Jenkins, who are very impressive. I liked the way their backline used the width of the field. There are a lot of good things for coach Nollis Marais to work with after this positive win. This was a very encouraging game for the Bulls.

‘Let’s not run down the Kings, who tried the entire game. They played their hearts out and had a couple of good breakaways with Malcolm Jaer down the wing, so it wasn’t as if they backed off. I also thought Chris Cloete, the openside flanker, was exceptional as was his replacement CJ Velleman, who won a number of turnovers.’

Stormers vs Sunwolves

‘This was a forgettable game for me. I know they scored seven tries, but the Stormers were not playing against a very good side. When you miss 30 out of 120 tackles – that’s one in every four attempts – make eight knocks, concede eight turnovers, make 11 handling errors and only have 40% territory and possession, it’s really not a good performance even though they scored all those tries of which most were long-range efforts and the rest individual brilliance. The Stormers don’t have a controlled, well-organised attack. Perhaps I’m nitpicking, but our sides won’t win against New Zealand sides while playing like that. It was fast and loose like touch rugby, lightweight.

‘The Stormers had quite a few guys who went in for turnovers – Jean-Luc du Plessis, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi – but there’s no individual who is permanently making a nuisance of himself like an openside flank should.

‘Du Plessis showed good physicality at the breakdown and he's not scared to tackle. I Ioved the accuracy of his passing and how he took the ball to the line. That pass to set up Notshe for the try was excellent. His first game couldn’t have been better.

‘We musn’t underestimate the role [fullback] Riaan Viljoen played for the Sunwolves. The one thing we have to be a little nervous about was how easily he held off the Stormers wingers. Size is a big issue, they are absolutely brilliant going forward on attack, but there are question marks over the defence. There was Kobus van Wyk being handed off by Viljoen for a try.

‘If you consider this performance and compare it to their game against the Brumbies, it’s completely different. I’m just hoping that against the Lions, who are a competent team, the Stormers will be able to handle the pace at which the game is played. Individuals did perform well today, but looking at the quality of teams who are going to get into the playoffs, those are all teams who play with a well-organised game on defence, attack and kicking-wise. That’s what South African teams must learn to do, match the best.'

Five lessons from the past weekend's matches

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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