‘Sharks game low point of SA season’

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 Cheetahs

'All I can say after this game is they’ve made a really good decision to reduce us to four teams, because the quality of this match is just not what people want to watch on a regular basis. It reminded me of a game between two weak Australian sides.

'This was disappointing rugby for long periods of the game and pretty unwatchable stuff until about the 70th minute.

'The perennial problem for the Bulls all season has been their inability to finish. They make great linebreaks, but have no ability to finish off. The Bulls are too lateral in attack and their support-running is extremely poor.

VIDEO: Highlights of Bulls vs Cheetahs

'Both teams played like a windshield wiper going left and right without any momentum down the middle of the field. And it is exacerbated by the No 10s standing deep, even after good front-foot ball. The flyhalf has to stand flat as soon as they win the ball on the gainline.

'Let’s not forget the Cheetahs had an opportunity to win this game in the final minute. It was an evenly balanced contest and it wasn’t as if one team completely dominated the other.

'Locks RG Snyman and Jason Jenkins played really well, while a guy like Lood de Jager has been very quiet throughout all these Bulls games. We’ve hardly seen him, whereas these two youngsters at least get stuck in.'

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Sharks vs Rebels

'From a South African point of view, this Sharks performance was the low point of the season.

'The referee was called on many times in this game because of all the mistakes, handling errors and ill-discipline. This game had everything that we don’t want to see in rugby. There was some extraordinary poor passing by the Sharks, especially by Jeremy Ward. 

WATCH: Highlights of Sharks vs Rebels

'We were all expecting the Sharks to beat the Rebels, and to be honest I think they probably would have if they kept André Esterhuizen on the field.

'I think the officials handled the red card situation really well. It was a deliberate lifting tackle over the horizontal and the player’s shoulder and head landed simultaneously. This is exactly the sort of action that we’re trying to stamp out of the game.  When a guy lands on his head like that there’s not just concussion to worry about, but also the possibility of the neck being broken. It was a ridiculously dangerous thing to do by Esterhuizen.

'Nic Stirzaker can also have no complaints regarding his two yellow cards that resulted in a red card. On both occasions he made no attempt to intercept the ball, he deliberately slapped it down.'

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Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Nick Mallett