‘Reinach deserves his place’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Springbok squad and the Super Rugby final.

Springbok squad

'There is great depth in the forwards. Lood de Jager played brilliantly during the June Tests so it's great to see him in there. Coenie Oosthuizen is one to have missed out. I think he paid the price for a tighthead experiment that didn't really work out. In the game against the Lions he gave away five penalties at scrum time and it showed that he really isn't a Test quality tighthead.

'The one big conundrum for Heyneke Meyer is scrumhalf. In Ruan Pienaar you've got a good kicking scrumhalf from the base. In Francois Hougaard you've got a guy that's a little bit more explosive and probably better defensively. It's very good to see Cobus Reinach in there so he can start to learn about the patterns that the Springboks play. He's had some great games this season. I thought he was a little bit off in the quarter-final and semi-final but he deserves his place.

'We seem to have taken a step forward in the 10 position. It looks like Handré Pollard and Pat Lambie are going to be contesting that position as well. Lambie is obviously covering fullback along with Lwazi Mvovo, because it doesn't look like we have another fullback apart from Willie le Roux. So we've got players who can play fullback as opposed to a specialist fullback on the bench.

'There's no doubt that 2013 was a good year for the Boks. It's a question of whether they can take a step forward and keep on evolving. During Heyneke's first year it was all about set pieces, a kicking game and defence. Then we got our counter-attack going, with Le Roux and getting outside backs involved. I think that what we've got to do is develop an attacking game and I think we saw a little bit more variety and width earlier this season. But you need to maintain the intensity for 80 minutes because if you play an attacking game like that, you have to be incredibly fit and your tight forwards have to be incredibly fit.'

Waratahs vs Crusaders

'Every rugby follower has to give full credit to both those teams for an absolutely superb performance. When you play that style of rugby, it is a wonderful game to watch, to support and to play. It was one of the best quality games that we've seen this year, which is extraordinary in a final with that much tension and stress. They just had a full go at each other using all the width of the field, showing great skills and good decision-making. They did kick and they tried to counter-attack. It was really fantastic rugby, and congratulations must go to the Waratahs.

'The intensity the Waratahs brought to that first 20 minutes was incredible. They got off the line so quickly and they forced the Crusaders into making mistakes. They picked up a few penalties and they knocked the Crusaders out of their rhythm with their aggression. There are so many compliments I can pay to both of these teams. The Waratahs led by 14 points, then the Crusaders came back into the game with a great counter-attacking try. The Waratahs never stopped believing that they could disturb the Crusaders with their game plan. I just thought that the way that Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale rotated during the game was seamless. One moment it would be Foley, the next Beale. The passing was great, the width of their attack was excellent and their ball retention was fantastic. Even though they were under pressure in the set pieces, they still kept hold of every single ball they could and tried to make the most of it. It was a great performance by both teams.

'During the last play of the game, the support player used his hands in a ruck. It should have been a penalty to the Crusaders, and it turned into a penalty for the Waratahs. On such tiny margins a season is decided. A referee's decision in the final minute of the game could've won the game for the Crusaders as opposed to lose it for them.'

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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