‘SA can be proud of derby’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Saturday's matches involving South African teams.

Stormers vs Lions

'It was an absolute pleasure watching those two teams play. There were lots of mistakes in a high-pressure game like that, some handling errors, but you cannot criticise either team for effort. They were both unbelievably enterprising and went hammer and tongs at each other. It's a derby that we can be proud of as a South African rugby nation.

'It was great to see two South African sides have a crack at each other by playing not only a kicking game, a driving game or a forward-orientated game, but also using the outside backs and the back three.

'To be honest, the Lions were very unfortunate at the end of the game. They were the ones attacking the tryline and just lost the ball close to the line in the very last move of the game. When they played the Stormers at Ellis Park, [Howard] Mnisi lost the ball forward in the last move of the game.

'I thought [Eben] Etzebeth and [Schalk] Burger from the Stormers were absolutely brilliant, and [Warren] Whiteley and [Jaco] Kriel from the Lions. Whiteley has played every single second of every game and his tackle stats are phenomenal. I think he's 40 tackles ahead of the next best.

'The speed with which [Faf] de Klerk gets to the ruck and the quickness of his service has been the really noticable aspect of his game. He's also incredibly brave and for a little guy he makes some very good tackles. He also put in a couple of good box-kicks today.

'The result hasn't worked out for the South African conference, because by the time the Stormers play the Sharks next weekend we might already know that the Waratahs or Brumbies have won. So the Stormers might go into that game playing for nothing and just hoping for players not to get injured, and that's the worst way to play a game of rugby. You need to want to go into a game wanting to win it and to maintain momentum for the next period.'

Cheetahs vs Waratahs

'It was an an end-of-season touch rugby game. Ninety-one points were scored and neither side concentrated on defence with the Waratahs scoring nine tries to five. The Waratahs just had a better set of backs and managed to get the five log points that they needed.

'From [Cheetahs coach] Franco Smith's point of view, he's had one week with the team. He's not concentrating on this Super Rugby campaign, he's concentrating on preparing for the Currie Cup. He will know there's a big difference between Super Rugby and the Currie Cup when he finishes this competition.

'The Cheetahs gave the Waratahs too much space. They were so tight on defence and they don't trust the inside player to make the tackle. The way [Israel] Folau in-outed [Cornal] Hendricks was a bit worrying, as you don't want to see your Springbok winger get beaten like that. I think Hendricks has a bit of work to do.

'The Cheetahs' front row won two [first-half penalties] and Maks van Dyk got the better of Benn Robinson, who is a hopeless scrummager. But Van Dyk then gave away the last penalty [of the half] when Robinson got the better of him. The Cheetahs scrum was much more stable, but it's not a strong point of either team.'

Rebels vs Bulls

'Even if the Bulls had won [in Melbourne] they still don't deserve to be in the top six the way they have played [this season].'  

Five lessons from the past weekend's Super Rugby matches

Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

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Nick Mallett