Nick Mallett blasts South African rugby

Former South Africa and Italy head coach Nick Mallett has blasted the standard of South African rugby, following the recent dour derbies played out between the Sharks and the Cheetahs and the Lions and the Stormers in Super Rugby.

Mallett, appearing in his current capacity as a SuperSport rugby pundit, claimed that the “ball skills in South Africa need a tremendous amount of work,” before appealing to schoolboy coaches to focus more on this aspect of the game.

He fears South Africa falling away from New Zealand, and a glance at the Super Rugby log at the moment would appear to back up his claim – four of the five South African provinces sit in the bottom half of the table, while Stormers have scored a measly 123 points in eight games (an average of just over 15 points per game).

Mallett goes on to say that “it’s no surprise that Heyneke Meyer [head coach of the South African national team] decides to play a very limited game plan with the Springboks”, referring to the forward and territory-based game the national side tends to utilise. Whilst that might be true at times, there is no doubt that the Springboks were a cut above the rest of the chasing pack last season, and the epic at Ellis Park proved that they do have players who possess the skills to play an expansive game.

His full rant is below – have a watch and let us know what you think. Is he being fair, or out of line?

12 thoughts on “Nick Mallett blasts South African rugby

  1. I don’t think Nick Mallet saying anything particularly untoward in this. South Africa has long got by on beating opponents up in the forwards on the international stage. They’re good at it as a team, and it works for them. Fair play…(no one can say they’re not successful considering their number 2 world rank) but by god it isn’t half boring to watch most of the time!

    If South Africa ever came across a team that could match them physically and technically in the forwards, then I think they would find it very hard to come up with (or at at least execute) another style of play. If you look at the Springboks purely in terms of attack they probably rank about 5th-6th in the world, maybe lower when you think of teams that can really throw the ball around (Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand France on their day etc)

    1. Fair comment for Meyer’s early games in charge, but they seemed to move well beyond that in the latter part of 2013. I thought the gap between 1 & 2 was closing.

  2. Is it just me or is Super Rugby not particularly “Super” this year? Even to fill the 30 min “Try Time” program they had to pad it out with a lot of penalty shots this week.

    The brand seems to be going a bit stale.

  3. Don’t this is particularly ground breaking information. That’s the way SA have always played.

    I know people will look at the Ellis Park test match and like you have done above, suggest it means they can play that type of game. I disagree. They Lost. By 11 points. At home.

    They will not beat NZ at their own game. NZ have the best skill set in the world from 1 to 15.

    So either, Meyer is forced into playing the limited game plan that SA can achieve great success from. Or, as Mallett says, they begin developing their skills to play a more expansive game plan.

  4. Thanks Mallet! The first coach to see it since 1995! The Springboks is not even close to the mighty All Blacks when it comes to running with the ball. We have no quality backline players like in the 80’s. South Africa also have no quality fly half or centres that can break with the ball. I wonder what Naas and Danie Gerber would have done against the current boks…..Only one thing they would have killed our current back line!

  5. I usually disagree with a lot that he has to say. But i can agree with him on this, we are falling behind. The boys at Primary level in NZ are learning and doing what we did at 1stXV level with regard to ball skills, set moves and rules.

  6. I agree with nick the total sports debacle started with the quota system,where have you ever heard of this stupidity,if a person deserves to be there why are they not there,don’t just put them in based on skin colour but on talent alone.we in this country are all about. Skin colour not talent this is why we are losing to overseas sides,if a full black side ran out in springbok colours and each one deserved to be there,then went on to win the world cup would the white south africans say its rigged or would the black people start supporting them.its ridiculous maybe we should get the supporters of the next springbok game bring a list of the springbok team and give to management on who is in and who is out then the teams be picked by their supporters it could not be worse than it is now.quotas will never work and why are the whites hanging on to rugby,give it to the blacks,withdraw all white people from top to bottom then we can see,but that will never happen as its just money and politics where is playing for the passion.every one is against mallet because he took on management when he said make the tickets cheaper.I supported the bulls even moved to pretoria to be closer but when I went to watch a game at loftus I could not afford to go in you should have seen the disappointment on my sons face when I said sorry boy the tickets are to expensive.yes we are lacking professionalism we are still amateurs.

  7. The big South African clubs like Bulls, Sharks, Stormers are wasting good talent on the bench. If they let the players they buy-up go and play at some of the smaller clubs we will be able to pick a Springbok team with much more depth and versatility. But the big unions buy up all the good players per position and then make them sit on the sidelines and let their talent go to waste.

    Release them for games to the smaller unions so they can get game time and we can get a lot more clubs performing in our country. This way the selectors can see more people with talent have game time.

    I personally would love to see the Gryphons, and the Falcons and so on increase their standard of play to where we can start getting a few thousand people to their stadiums, and then we can also see a lot more superstars get spoken about instead of the usual 5 we have from teh usual unions.

    Share talent, don’t hoard and smother it.

  8. My point for years; no better coach in world rugby than Nick Mallett. If you get something like a rugby genius, well; that’s Nick Mallett for you without any doubt. He’s on a total different planet (galaxy?) than most and understands the game in-and-out. I actually feel for people who’s suppose to be on a panel with him. They, with all due respect, sound liked they got stuck on the same tune light years ago, Sometimes Nick must have/get the feeling of “I’m surrounded by cattle”. Mallett can analyze just about everything you can think off. He talks with authority and he comes over as someone who’s in total command of his subject. He’s honest and call it as he sees it. Other than other SA commentators he’s also not that biased. Of course he favours South African teams but like some NZ commentators, he also applaud the good and nice things opponents do. That makes me listening to him and value his opinion. I can’t stand commentators who always try to find excuses with the ref when something goes wrong with their teams or who only look for mistakes of the opponents. In short; Nick Mallett is the type of coach/person any team will dream about, simply the best in the business. Finish en Klaar!!

  9. The Bok backline of the late-80s could come out of retirement and would run rings around this current crop without spilling a drop of beer. Only Fourie du Preez and Willie le Roux would compete for places in that backline.

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