‘Kolbe could be SA’s best No 9’

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

Sunwolves vs Stormers

'It was a shocking performance by the Stormers. They looked overconfident, and they were really poor with ball in hand, going sideways instead of forward. Their defence was too passive and frankly they looked half asleep. This was a serious case of overconfidence and a lack of experience in key positions. The Stormers were very lucky to come away with a draw today.

'They just didn’t take the opposition seriously enough. When you play a team that you should dominate, you must dominate with your forwards. So many times today, the scrum was going forward, but instead of milking the penalty and kicking to the corner to set up a driving maul or kick a penalty goal, the Stormers tried to play ball-in-hand rugby and that played right into the Sunwolves’ hands. I don’t know what happened with the Stormers. Their tactics were just wrong.'

'This reminded me of the Springboks’ performance against Japan in the World Cup. If you want to win a rugby game, you have to get all the basics right. An example of this, which South African teams need to look at, is the Highlanders-Crusaders game. There was no problem with defence, attacking and/or defensive kicking, the set pieces were incredibly intense and there was great offloading when going forward. What we’re trying to do is play an offloading game without dominating physically and that doesn’t cut it.

'Jean-Luc du Plessis needed to control the game better and he missed a crucial touchfinder. Cheslin Kolbe is incredibly brave, he has very good feet and a good kicking and passing game. I’m not sure he can compete internationally at fullback, being as slight as he is. A year or two ago against the Sharks, he beat them twice from the base of the scrum and created chaos when he stepped two forwards. I think Cheslin just needs experience playing at scrumhalf and he could be the best No 9 in South Africa. He and Pieter-Steph du Toit were two of the few players who played with a bit of go forward and didn’t let themselves down today.'

Lions vs Blues

'The Lions had a very strong set piece, their defence was aggressive, they counter-rucked well and won the breakdown situation, and most importantly their tactical kicking on attack and exit-kicking was good. The Lions did everything right today.

'The Blues didn’t look motivated, they didn’t show tremendous tenacity under the high balls and made a lot of handling errors. But I think those two exquisite kicks from Elton Jantjies that set up the first two tries, set the tone of the game.

'I should also mention the use of the mauls. Driving mauls in conditions like this are absolutely invaluable and the Lions scored two great driving-maul tries as well. Scoring 40 points in the rain against a New Zealand side is an outstanding and complete performance. And it will give the Lions confidence that they can beat a Kiwi team at home in a playoff match.

'It’s going to be very hard to leave Jantjies and Lionel Mapoe out of the Springbok side at the moment and the explosive performance of Malcolm Marx will put a lot of pressure on the incumbent Springbok hookers.

'Jaco Kriel is multi-skilled. His job as an openside flanker is in the Richie McCaw mould. He has to play as a ball carrier, but also someone who disrupts the opposition’s ball and makes numerous tackles. Kriel has great hands, passes well, carries strongly and isn’t scared to get in over the ball and steal it.'

Cheetahs vs Kings

'Both teams are very poor defensively and the less said about this game the better.

'Lood de Jager has not been the player we saw at the World Cup last year, but judging by today’s big performance I think he realises that there is some keen opposition in that position. You’ve got the two Stormers guys, Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit, and then there is Franco Mostert, who is also playing well. And Lood will have to play out of his socks to keep his place in the Springbok team.'

Note: Mallett did not comment on the Waratahs vs Bulls and Jaguares vs Sharks matches.

Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

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Nick Mallett