What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks’ Rugby Championship title triumph in Salta on Saturday.
‘It was just a really good win for the Boks and fantastic that they’ve won the Rugby Championship for the first time in 10 years. It’s a fantastic achievement for both Rassie Erasmus and for the team.
‘There were so many good things today. The Boks attacked them where they were weak and vulnerable and that is the scrums.
‘The ref is a guy South Africans don’t really like, going back to Bismarck du Plessis’ tackle on Dan Carter, but today I thought Romain Poite was exemplary. He was very invested on the field and he was strict on both teams, but he also gave South Africa full credit for their dominance.
‘I was quite relieved that Cheslin Kolbe played so well at scrumhalf for the 10 minutes when Faf de Klerk was off the field because if he made a few shocking passes everyone would have said I didn’t know what I was talking about.
‘He has been playing fantastic rugby on the wing but in this instance where he had to move to scrumhalf, he did so quite seamlessly. What always impresses me about Kolbe is his unbelievable courage for a man of his size. He is barely 80kg, if that, but he goes in as hard as anyone on the field.
‘But honestly, apart from playing sevens, I’m not sure how much rugby Kolbe ever played at No 9 and yet he looked so comfortable there. From a World Cup perspective, it allows us to think of perhaps taking two specialist scrumhalves with Kolbe to cover and that liberates another position in the backline or in the forwards.
‘At fullback, Willie le Roux didn’t get into the game today and I think Warrick Gelant is pushing him hard and that is good because we need competition at No 15. Wings we’ve got plenty and we’ve got centre. We saw Frans Steyn come on and do a really good job. That pick up from that one pass was outstanding, as was the half-gap and offload to Pieter-Steph du Toit.
‘When you think about the side that was put onto the field against Australia, it was completely different from the one going to New Zealand and now they’ve all been together for two, three weeks building towards this game so there must be a hell of a spirit in that team at the moment and going into the World Cup it’s unbelievably positive.
Well done guys!! Congratulations on a splendid victory and successful campaign. pic.twitter.com/eYYWf4Xiq6
— Springboks (@Springboks) August 10, 2019
‘Having been a coach, you go through tough times and I think on the tour to the northern hemisphere last year Erasmus had a few tough games. We were also beaten by Argentina last year. You have your up and down moments, so Erasmus thoroughly deserves this.
‘His planning has been meticulous going coming into this Rugby Championship, the players quite clearly are incredibly happy with the way in which they are being managed by the coaching staff.
‘Jacques Nienaber has done a brilliant job with this press defence and he has got them all to understand it and it is working far better. Mzwandile Stick has been working so hard on getting players back into position to play and then Matthew Proudfoot has been working well with the pack of forwards and so to the strength and conditioning guy.
‘They’ve had to battle through a couple of difficult seasons. Getting hammered by New Zealand 57-0 in Albany and at home at Kings Park. It wasn’t good for the Springboks emblem and brand. But the turnaround has been quite quick, if you think about it. I mean there seems to be a lot of direction in this team.
‘And just to carry on it, we must give credit to SA Rugby. They get criticised a lot and justifiably so in the past, but the amount they’ve given to Erasmus in terms of preparation, getting the players he wanted, talking to the franchises. He has been very fortunate because of his relationship with Mark Alexander, which is very important and helpful.’