• ‘SA teams have underperformed’

    What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport following the latest round of Super Rugby matches.

    NEWLANDS

    'This was a real play-off game. It was a bad-tempered game of rugby, they weren't mates on the field today. There were lots of little niggly off-the-ball incidents, clean-outs without using the arms, pushing in the face, a bit of a free-for-all. It was an uncomfortable, angry game of rugby, but that's the way the Sharks play. They dominate you physically, force you to make errors, defend for as long as they want, commit players to the breakdown, they push the ref to the limit and if you make half a mistake they seize on it. That type of rugby is good rugby to take you into the play-offs, but playing away in the semi-final and the final is going to be tough.'

    CHALLENGING REFEREES

    'I'm very unhappy with the lack of respect and the lack of control shown by our senior players at the moment when it comes to referees. I've got a feeling that there's too much familiarity between the players and the refs and it's bred contempt. On the field in pressurised situations, players feel they have a right to challenge the referee in a way that's becoming very soccer-like. It's something that I really don't like and something that you don't want in rugby whatsoever.

    'The only way to stop it is for the referees out there to not tolerate any abuse and to not tolerate any questioning of their decisions, even if it's by a captain, if it's not done in the proper way. We don't want to see schoolboys taking the example of senior Springbok players challenging the referee time and time again, publicly on television. It's not right and it has no place on a rugby field.'

    SUPER RUGBY PERFORMANCE

    'I think this Super Rugby campaign has been very disappointing. Four of South Africa's top teams are sitting in the bottom seven places. We're clutching at straws if we're saying the Stormers played well in the second half of the season or the Lions did better than expected. It's been a poor season for South African Super Rugby teams where we've only got one team in the top six and four down in the bottom half of the draw. We need to improve.

    'Our rand is so much weaker than the Australian and New Zealand dollar which means that we've got 300 players over in Europe, earning money overseas. We have Springbok contracted players and then we have guys coming out of the U21s. Our big group of players from the ages 23 to 29 who aren't in the Springbok fold have gone overseas and this is weakening our franchises terribly.'

    Photo: Chris Rocco/BackpagePix

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    Nick Mallett