‘Zas’s slip is completely irrelevant’

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

Stormers vs Waratahs

‘From a Stormers' point of view, this was an example of how you don’t close a game out. The inexperience of Jean-Luc du Plessis was evident. The Stormers won the ball from the kick-off, but didn’t hold on to the ball for as long as possible. But he gave a lineout away just on the 22 and allowed the Waratahs, with 15 against 14, to have a sweeping attack that took them to within five yards. Then you have to ask, what happened to the last Stormers scrum? Having managed to get into a situation where they led with five minutes to go, that exit kick [by Du Plessis], the lineout they conceded followed by that scrum cost the Stormers. They only have themselves to blame for the loss.

‘Pieter-Steph du Toit had an absolutely remarkable game and Rynhardt Elstadt was very physical and involved. But the experience of Kurtey Beale, Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Rob Horne and even Nick Phipps in the Waratahs backline was the difference. The Waratahs also showed some physical nature at the end when it was needed to win the game.

‘It was a game that turned on the red card. The Stormers would not have lost if it was 15 against 15, but that’s the price you pay for an indiscretion.

‘The law is very clear – the player who jumps higher in the air has all the rights – so Foley had all the rights. The fact that Leolin Zas slipped is completely irrelevant. We were perfectly happy when the referee made that decision to red-card Jason Emery for taking out Willie le Roux and everyone said how well the referee had handled that situation. In my opinion, [referee] Mike Fraser handled this situation exactly the same. I feel sorry for Zas, as he did slip, but he is not jumping in the air and then takes the feet out from underneath the player which opened up the possibility of getting a card. There was no intent, but a referee can’t rule on intent, he referees on fact. The crowd can boo as much as they like, unfortunately Fraser was correct.’

Lions vs Hurricanes

‘The Hurricanes’ tactic of pressing on defence was very effective and every time a Lions carrier had the ball they were under pressure, hence the two interceptions. There were a couple of tough calls on the Lions from [referee] Jaco van der Westhuizen today, particularly the first Hurricanes try where there was a knock-on and a bit of obstruction. The officials were also very poor at policing the offside line. The Hurricanes were offside at virtually every single ruck and because they were allowed to get away with it, they created 13 turnovers. But when you concede seven tries you can’t start complaining about refereeing.

'In two or three years, I haven’t seen the Lions play as badly as this. They lost the scrum contest, the physical contest at the breakdown and they lost at the gainline both in defence and attack. They were completely dominated physically by the Hurricanes. It was a nightmare in Joburg as the Lions were completely played off the park. A horror show at Ellis Park.'

Other matches involving SA teams

‘The Cheetahs performance against the Reds was very disappointing. The Sharks narrowly lost to the Chiefs, but a positive for them is that they come away with six log points from a tough tour, and the Bulls scoring 42 points against the Force, with some really good tries included, was a fantastic result.’

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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