‘Sithole attacks space, not man’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Saturday's matches at Free State Stadium and Ellis Park.


'The Crusaders dominated the breakdown because their body position going into the ruck situation was far better than the Cheetahs' and they have more than one guy who can make those vital turnovers. I saw Andy Ellis make vital turnovers. There's a need to have a specialist fetcher in your team if you are playing against New Zealand opposition because they are very good at turning over possession.

'We saw the same old Cheetahs again in this match. As the game went on they got tired and their skills let them down. They need to take a good hard look at themselves because they are conceding on average 35 points a game, which is too much. If they want to win games they can't concede four or more tries. If they can reduce that, then they will start winning games.'


'The TMO decision not to award Willem Alberts the try [just before half-time] was a good one. The Lions' scramble defence was very good in that first half.

'There was a bit of inconsistency in the refereeing. Warren Whiteley was blown up twice for sealing, which were good calls, but Bismarck du Plessis did the same and wasn't penalised, so we need more consistency from our refs.'

'The Sharks get a python-like grip on a game because they punt you back into your own half and force you to make mistakes. Coupled with an aggressive defence they put you under pressure and chip away at the scoreboard.

'Guys like Marcell Coetzee, who I thought was brilliant on the ground, make sure that you can't make mistakes, even in your own half with the boot of Frans Steyn around.

'Steyn has the opportunity to make a big impact at flyhalf now because of the injuries to Lambie and now Zeilinga. He kicks well with both feet and is a special player.

'S'bura Sithole was equally impressive. He is a graduate of the sevens system. He defends well, attacks the space and not the man and gets up on his feet very quickly, which in this day and age is a vital component of rugby.'

'The problem with South African rugby is that we start off very well in matches – we are intense and physical – but in the last 20 minutes we get tired and that's when we are most vulnerable.'

Photo: Gallo Images

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