‘Stormers’ defence is worrying’

What former Bok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the past weekend's Super Rugby matches involving South African teams.

Cheetahs vs Sharks

‘We saw the disappointment on Francois Venter’s face. They sent a weakened team over to the Jaguares and fielded a full-strength side for this game at home because they were targeting the Sharks. But it’s always the same problem for them: far too many handling errors.

‘The Sharks defence was excellent. They got off the line well and were very physical. They also contested every breakdown. They were flat on defence, which gave less time to the Cheetahs’ ball-carriers than other teams have done. So it wasn’t just poor passing and poor handling by the Cheetahs. Those errors were forced by the Sharks.

ALSO READ: Five takeaways from past weekend

‘On top of that, the Sharks’ tight five and loose forwards really came into the game in the second half with some strong carries, and without a doubt Curwin Bosch’s goal-kicking was outstanding. They played for territory, won penalties and then having a flyhalf that knocks them over with regularity like that, took the game away from the Cheetahs. Bosch’s kicking, not only at goal but out of hand too, was deadly.

‘He does need to tackle, though. That is the one thing he has to learn. And that’s the defence coach’s job. For a month, the defence coach must take 20 minutes after every practice session to work one-on-one with Bosch to get him to tackle around the waist area.

VIDEO: Highlights of Cheetahs vs Sharks

‘I think Coenie Oosthuizen’s yellow card [for a high tackle] was justified. I agree with [referee] Jaco Peyper. The TMO ruled that Coenie’s arm hit the shoulder not the head, but according to Peyper he saw enough on the field to suggest that the tackle was high and dangerous. If you look at Coenie, he actually comes off his feet and leaps in to the tackle. He didn’t take the safety of the ball-carrier into consideration. The assistant referees and the TMO can only give advice, but the referee on the field has the final decision.’

Kings vs Lions

‘The Lions vary their attack effectively. They got two driving maul tries and a couple of tries running from the back. Jantjies is not just spraying the ball wide on attack. He puts chip kicks in when there is a flat defence in front of him and these Lions are so synchronised, there’s always a chaser to collect those kicks.

'One issue that really troubled the Lions was Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s handling. He is a fantastic player, but unfortunately he had one of those games when the ball would just not stick in his hands. I think we counted five consecutive knock-ons. If he managed to hang on to those passes, the Lions would have come away with a better victory.’

VIDEO: Highlights of Kings vs Lions

Sunwolves vs Stormers

‘The important thing was the scrumhalf and flyhalf [Dewaldt Duvenage and Robert du Preez] had to play for territory, set midfied targets and do pick and go’s. But the halfbacks were moving the ball around too much in the first half. As soon as they started doing the pick and go’s and the No 10 played for territory, the Stormers managed to get some tries. They were down by 14 points, but came back and showed a lot maturity in the second half.

‘The defence of the Stormers is really worrying. The defence was slow off the line and without communication and density. Stormers have problems in defence. I thought Dan du Plessis coming on to the field made a massive difference to the defence. He understands it well, didn’t come out of the line and he communicated well with EW Viljoen. The Stormers defence was much better in that second half when he was on.’

VIDEO: Highlights of Sunwolves vs Stormers

Contentious refereeing decisions

‘The TMO and the referee in the Sunwolves-Stormers game were speaking their second language, causing the confusion that led to Viljoen’s disallowed try. You can’t have a situation where the TMO clearly says “No clear evidence of offside, you may award the try” in mumbled fashion and then the referee, who has difficulties with his comms system at the best of times, just heard “no” and thought the TMO meant no try. In a game like this, the Stormers got the bonus-point win, so there are no repercussions. But say for example that was a match-winning try and a team needed those log points to get a home semi-final it could be a crucial mistake. Communication is vital and our TMOs and referees have to be able to communicate in a language they all understand.

‘The Sunwolves’ Ed Quirk was cleaned out against the Stormers and he got frustrated. And he elbowed Cobus Wiese in the head twice and then used his knee to hit the player’s head. There was an absolute deliberation to what he was doing.'

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Photo: Lionel Ng/Getty Images

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Nick Mallett