Mallett: Shocking yellow card

Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says the decision to give Bok wing Bryan Habana a yellow card against Australia in Perth was "shocking".

The Wallabies beat the Springboks 24-23 on Saturday thanks to a late try by wing Rob Horne which saw the Springboks slip to second in the Rugby Championship standings.

But the match turned on Irish referee George Clancy's decision to sin-bin Habana for a high tackle on Adam Ashley-Cooper in the 65th minute.

Mallett, speaking in the SuperSport studio after the game, said the following in his analysis of the match:

"It was a case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We had the game in our hands. We were given the penalty, with a couple minutes left on the clock. After a period of fantastic defence, keeping them out with 14 men and a shocking decision by the referee to yellow card Bryan Habana. The bravery and courage of our defence was almost good enough to hold out, but Morné Steyn missed touch. He does so many things well for this side, but you can't miss touch at the end of the game. We kick that out, we throw to Victor Matfield, we win the ball and maul up the field and close the game out. That was a dreadful mistake from Morné Steyn.

"Australia are a poor team at the moment. They are a side lacking in confidence - they took 50 points against the All Blacks last week - and they were there for the taking. We were leading 23-14 at one stage with 10 minutes to go. To win this game the Boks had to dominate at the set phases and in the contact areas. There isn't one Wallabies tight forward who would make the Bok team. It's one of the weakest tight fives I've seen in international rugby. They're into their fourth hooker, and he could hardly hit his lineout jumpers today. If we can't dominate that front five and control the game territorially with our kicking, we're not going to be able to do that against the All Blacks.

"What worried me was some aimless kicking from our halves. Secondly, we have an inability to use the grubber as an attacking weapon. The All Blacks used it to score two tries, the first try from Australia came from a grubber. Why aren't we kicking shallow grubbers in wet weather? Bring the fullback forward, get our players to run onto it and turn their defence around. We're just banging it into the air and hoping for the opposition to make a mistake.

"Duane Vermeulen hit him with his arm around the chest, and the ref said he rode up. There was a very late tackle on Jean de Villiers that was high and the referee penalises the Australian, but there was no question of a yellow card. So how can he not give a yellow card against Duane, not give a yellow card for the Australian tackle and then give one for Bryan Habana's tackle? It doesn't make sense, where is the consistency?"

The Boks tackle the All Blacks in Wellington this coming Saturday (kick-off 09:35 SA time).
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