Mallett lays into Bok centres Kriel, De Allende

Cape Town - Former national coach Nick Mallett has hit out at the Springboks’ performance against Ireland in Dublin.

South Africa’s 38-3 defeat was the biggest ever suffered against the Irish and leaves serious doubts over head coach Allister Coetzee’s future as head coach.

Mallett commented on the Springboks’ effort in the SuperSport studio after the game on Saturday and his analysis painted a bleak picture.

“Unfortunately this was a thrashing. We were given a real - as they say in Afrikaans - ‘pakslae’. We lost by 57-0 to New Zealand, and afterwards we heard the coaching staff saying we could take some positives out of it. I’ll tell you what, I cannot see any positives to be taken out of this game. I don’t care how positive you are as a personality; there are no positives out of this game,” Mallett said.

“I’m trying not to be emotional. Our backline attack and defence were non-existent today. Our defence was incredibly naive. We were drawn into every single run-around. They even played a wide ball and a pass back inside to a player and our defence was nowhere. Our backline defence was exceptionally poor.”

Mallett’s criticism was particularly harsh on the Springbok midfield duo of Damian de Allende and Jesse Kriel.

“The midfield attack - the two centres - showed absolutely no ability to straighten, catch or pass, which are the basics of international rugby,” Mallett continued.

“You can play touch rugby against a player and within five minutes you can tell whether that player understands space, timing and depth, both when he has the ball in two hands and when he is a support runner. I don’t think Damian de Allende or Jesse Kriel understand space or running straight or running lines. I think they are big, strong and powerful centres, who do not have a feel for the game of rugby. Unfortunately, De Allende looked woefully out of form. He has been picked - and one wonders why - on reputation. He certainly hasn’t played enough games to warrant selection.”

Mallett also questioned the game plan that halfbacks Ross Cronje and Elton Jantjies were forced to play.

“Our flyhalf and scrumhalf play a completely different game when they play for the Lions, which is a fast passing game. They were asked to kick tactically today and Ross Cronje in particular can’t do it. It’s just not their game. His kicks were inaccurate, either too short or too long and we didn’t have the chasers to put the opposition under pressure like we were put under pressure.”

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