Boks' dreaded box kick...

Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has highlighted a weakness from the Springboks' performance against the All Blacks in Wellington.

The All Blacks won the Test 14-10 but survived a massive scare against a committed Springbok outfit.

Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio afterwards and had mostly plaudits for the Springboks' effort, but did single out the tactical kicking of scrumhalf Francois Hougaard as a weakness.

Hougaard replaced Ruan Pienaar in the 36th minute after the latter left the field with a knee injury.

In his analysis on the game, Mallett said: "Perhaps the only issue was that they (the All Blacks) do exploit turnovers better than we do.

"On a couple of occasions we turned the ball over, got forward momentum and we kicked that dreaded box kick again. When you're going forward, keep the ball in hand, make the defence make their tackles, and perhaps you get the penalty that allows us to get three points or to kick into the corner.

"We kicked turnover ball far too quickly during the second half. Francois Hougaard made the wrong decision on a number of occasions. It's difficult for him because he's been playing the Blue Bulls game plan, which is 'get on the front foot, transfer the pressure through kicking', as opposed to playing what is in front of you.

"You never saw an aimless up-and-under from the All Blacks. You saw chips into space. The kick over the top from (scrumhalf) Aaron Smith landed on grass and Willie le Roux had to run it out. We had plenty of occasions when we were going forward and they had the back three covered, so we must keep it in hand."

Mallett also had praise for the Bok effort after they nearly snatched victory at the death.

"Every South African supporter should be really proud of our team. It's not often that you go over to New Zealand and you're right in it until the death. It is true that they make better decisions than we do, but we're at least moving in the right direction. Our try was just as good as theirs. It was just the territorial dominance that gave them better opportunities to kick penalties."

South Africa's next Test in the Rugby Championship is against Australia at Newlands on September 27.
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