What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springboks’ World Cup match against Samoa.
‘It was just a much better, professional performance by the team. I loved the way in the second half we just concentrated on doing the same things. We managed to score just after half-time to take the lead a bit further away from Samoa. I just thought the more the game progressed the more opportunities we’d have to score and that’s what happened. In the end, six tries was a very good effort.
‘There were so many good things from today and so many more positives. We can all give a big sigh of relief and say this was the team we were backing, and this is how we expect them to perform. So many players performed well, so congratulations to them, and the impact was very good from the bench. It was just a very professional, sound performance.
‘The key was that we attacked in the right areas today, as opposed to trying to attack from 60, 70m out … Our ball retention was excellent. We got ourselves in the right areas and then held onto the ball. Plus we mauled well, we scrummed well and our lineout work was outstanding.
‘I think after the Japan game it must have been a very difficult week for the Springboks. This will be a huge relief to the coaching staff, who did say we must stick to our structures, play in the right areas, play to our traditional strengths, and then play off the opposition. Our first try was an intercept try and that got us going, and then we were able to build a lead … and we did score some very nice tries in the end.
‘We wouldn’t have been worried about Samoa if we hadn’t lost to Argentina [in Durban], and if we hadn’t lost to Japan. That’s what threw us out, no one expected those results, we’ve been shocked by those poor performances, so this is just a huge step in the right direction.
‘Everyone spoke about the fact Japan played well [last weekend], but we really didn’t play well. For the minnows to beat us, they have to play at their very best, and we have to be as poor as we could ever be. Today we played well and beat Samoa by the score we should expect to have, last weekend was just an aberration. The key is the fluidity and service of Fourie [du Preez], he’s like good oil in an engine, as is Duane [Vermeulen], and those two players are very important to us getting further than the quarter-finals. We can’t afford for them to get injured.’
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images