What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Saturday's matches at Newlands and the Free State Stadium.
On the Chiefs
'The Chiefs were exceptionally accurate with the ball they got, because they were dominated in the scrums. But with the ball they had, their backs managed to produce some fantastic backline moves and create space on the outside.
'When the Chiefs realised they couldn't compete in the set pieces, they took quick lineout throws, they ran back a lot of the Stormers kicks and they used any possession to create opportunities.'
On players running across the field
'One of the prevailing problems of South African backline players is they run across the field and don't create space for each other.
'When you watch a New Zealand backline, you'll see that when a flyhalf gets the ball – even if he's taken it on the drift – he'll straighten before passing. The centre will be running straight when he gets the ball and that creates the space on the outside to allow one-on-ones for the fullback or the wings.'
On the pace of the game at Newlands
'Both teams started the game at great pace, and New Zealand sides enjoy playing at pace in order to tire out South African teams, who they think depend on static set pieces and physicality to win games. They never doubt their ability, skill-wise, to create opportunities.
On the substitutions
'The Stormers should've kept their pack together for as long as possible. The last 20 minutes [after the replacements] they didn't dominate the Chiefs pack as they had done in the 60 minutes prior.
'The Stormers front row and scrum was the strongest part of their game and to take the three players off was a poor move. In a game as close as that, you don't take off people who are dominating their opponents.'
On the Sharks
'It was an encouraging result for the Sharks, but there was a massive difference in the skill levels from the earlier match. The Sharks desperately needed a win to get back into this Super Rugby campaign.
'They did a tremendous amount of work off the ball, tackling and getting involved at the breakdown. Both teams tried hard, but the skill levels weren't great and the Sharks just managed to outdo the Cheetahs in that regard.
On the Cheetahs
'The Cheetahs had periods when they were on attack during the first half, and the Sharks defended very well and they didn't manage to score any points. Then suddenly they found themselves behind and they had to chase the game in the second half. They tried to spread the ball in a bid to score tries and that only made the game very loose and incredibly scrappy.
'Even though the Sharks' kicking game wasn't very attractive, it was clear they intended to play as much rugby as possible in the Cheetahs half and they were going to force the Cheetahs to play from deep.
'So the Cheetahs, whenever they ran, were running from deep in their own half and that created problems.'
On the scrums
'The scrumming was much better from the Sharks, and the Du Plessis brothers and [Tendai] Mtawarira deserve credit for that. They were much more solid on their own scrum and we saw from the two driving mauls they got a lot of collective unity in the lineouts.'
On Pieter-Steph du Toit
'I really hope the injury isn't a serious one. He's improving in leaps and bounds and his physicality around the field is something the Springboks need.
'Not only is he good in the lineout, but he's a very athletic player who makes a number of tackles and great ball-carries, so he'll be a great loss to the Boks if he's out for another extended period of time.'
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images