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Ex-Springbok coach slams quality of South African rugby

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‘It just doesn’t make for good viewing’

Former Springbok head coach Nick Mallet has said it is difficult not to be “a little bit negative” about the performances of South African clubs since the start of the pandemic.

The Springboks did not take part in any rugby for the duration of 2020, after pulling out of the Rugby Championship due to player welfare concerns, but their domestic season did resume last October.

Their domestic competition, the Currie Cup, will finish up in two weeks time with the grand final, but so far Mallet has been unimpressed by the rugby on show in the rainbow nation.

“It’s difficult not to be a little bit negative on the performances of our teams quite frankly.

“If you compare it with the way New Zealand cracked in with their Aotearoa competition, with teams really embracing the quick-ruck ball and ball-in-hand style.

“They were reasonably high-scoring games, but the defences were excellent and their attacks were great. It was rugby that was worth watching,” Mallet told SuperSport.

‘It doesn’t make for good viewing’

South Africa of course are the reigning world champions, after defeating England in their last game in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

The Springboks largely relied on power and physicality to dominate their opponents in Japan, and while that tactic brought them great success, Mallet believes it does not endear the team to supporters.


“When we started there was obviously issues with our fitness and conditioning. There were a lot of error-ridden games early on.

“Then it appeared that every single team that got into a tight situation just resorted to World Cup-final tactics which basically means driving mauls, pushing scrums for penalties and kicking an up-and-under from No.9 or 10 the entire game.

“Sadly it just doesn’t make for good viewing. If you’re waiting for other people to make a mistake…it’s like watching us playing Wales in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup – which was not a good spectacle, it was great that South Africa won, but it wasn’t a good rugby spectacle for viewers.


“People get entertained by watching tries being scored through good passing, good lines of running, timing and good stepping,” Mallet commented.

South African teams will have their first opportunity to face a non-domestic team since March 2020 in the new Rainbow Cup this April, where they take on sides from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.

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