• ‘SA backs must show more variety’

    The former Bok coach and SuperSport analyst looks ahead to this year's Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

    On South Africa's franchises

    'I feel positive about the Sharks, who will be very competitive because of [coaches] Brendan Venter and Gary Gold. The Stormers have a far better draw than in 2014 and ought to gain good momentum. The Bulls, Mallett feels, are a changed side and will be difficult to beat in Pretoria, but they need to sort out their travel issues. The Lions will continue to build on last season’s good form, but I doubt the Cheetahs will be able to overcome losing captain Adriaan Strauss, plus Trevor Nyakane.'

    On the brand of rugby played by South African teams

    'The brand of rugby South Africa plays is always physical and confrontational. If we can maintain our strengths – set pieces and aggressive defence and ball-carrying loose forwards – and get more variety from our backs I will be very encouraged. We’ll become less predictable and harder to defend against. The real benefit of the Currie Cup was that Western Province and the Lions mixed it up and played a good brand of rugby. Hopefully SA teams learn from that and take it into Super Rugby.'

    On whether the impending World Cup will a huge bearing on Super Rugby

    'Heyneke Meyer probably has 15-20 guys already secure in his mind. He’ll use Super Rugby to probably look at the last 10 spots.'

    On the main contenders from Australia and New Zealand

    'Sonny Bill Williams will be back at the Chiefs, which will make them good again. And then it’s the usual like the Crusaders and the Waratahs, who play very good rugby and will have coach Michael Cheika back again. I expect the Brumbies will be next best in the Australian conference.'

    Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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    Nick Mallett