What former Bok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the past weekend's Super Rugby matches involving South African teams.
Bulls vs Sunwolves
‘Once you’ve kicked the conversion, you can’t go back and have a relook at the try, as was the case with the Sunwolves’ last try against the Bulls at the end of the match. Unfortunately, the referee lost communication with the other officials and that confused the situation. He was saying he couldn’t hear the TMO tell him that there was controversy around the try. But then the assistant referees on the touchline should have alerted the referee about the TMO’s call quicker. You can’t wait until the conversion is taken and then say “hang on, we’re going to review”. If a try is awarded and the conversion is kicked, it should stand. You can’t go back.’
Lions vs Reds
‘The Lions did well. They had to bounce back after a disappointing game against the Jaguares last weekend. What was especially good about the Lions was that they managed to seven tries against a Reds team with nine internationals in their lineup. It was a good all-round performance and brilliant finishing by Courtnall Skosan to get four tries.
Sharks vs Kings
‘This was a very disappointing game from a South African rugby point of view. I’m sorry to say this, but it’s only a Sharks supporter who will be really happy at the end of that match. You have look to get a bonus-point win at home against a team that is unlikely to be around next season.
‘The Sharks, for long periods of the game, ran at people and tried to physically outmuscle the Kings. We all know South Africans are reasonably brave and prepared to tackle. So if you run straight at a Kings player, he is going to tackle you. This performance puts into perspective the Stormers’ win in Port Elizabeth when they scored six tries to beat the Kings. This was a bullying performance by the Sharks, but they only just managed to survive. The Kings showed a lot of heart on defence and they were kept in the game by the Sharks’ mistakes.’
‘The Sharks’ decision-making is questionable. In the build-up to the Kings’ second try, the decision-maker is Sharks lock Ruan Botha. One thing a lock shouldn’t do is try a lob pass and he did. It didn’t work and the Kings scored. The ball went right over the head of player outside him. To give away a try like that and a charged down try earlier was charitable. What’s more worrying for the Sharks is the number of scrum penalties they conceded. If they aren’t getting their set piece right, their struggles are going to continue. The Sharks were beating themselves really. If you look at the Kings’ tries, there wasn’t a single pass involved.
‘Flyhalf Bernard Janse van Rensburg didn’t take any control of this game, so Cobus Reinach was passing to the forwards all the time to run it and smash it up. There was no direction from the No 9 and No 10. Once Michael Claassens and Garth April came on, the Sharks played with more width and also they somehow got control of the scrums later on in the game. The handling of their tight forwards is also exceptional. It’s brilliant and very hard to defend against.'
Jaguares vs Cheetahs
‘There were a few things coming out of this game. First of all, the referee Paul Williams had a fantastic game. It’s very complicated to handle a game in Buenos Aires and communication with the TMOs is always difficult. He and his assistants managed to get their calls right and queried when they had to.
‘The Jaguares have strong running forwards, especially the loose trio. The No 6 and No 7 had a splendid game as did the locks. It’s really good seeing their offloading in contact and prior to contact.’
‘The Cheetahs' no-kicking philosophy didn't work. But they hardly kept possession. The point I’m making is that Franco Smith’s philosophy is going to be part of the Springboks’ philosophy because he is the attacking coach. But if Brendan Venter gets involved as the defence coach, he bring a different philosophy. He is all about kicking, territory and playing off other people’s mistakes. Venter won’t like the idea of playing the ball in your own 22 one bit. The conversation in the Bok coaching-room is going to be very interesting.'
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images