Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett was not impressed by the standard of rugby on display in Saturday night’s Super Rugby clash between the Sharks and Southern Kings in Durban.
In a scrappy encounter, the Sharks survived a massive scare to eke out a 19-17 win against their less-fancied opponents.
But Mallett, who coached the Springboks between 1997 and 2000, was not impressed.
“This was a very disappointing game from a South African rugby point of view. I’m sorry to say this, but it’s only a Sharks supporter who will be really happy at the end of that match. You have look to get a bonus-point win at home against a team that is unlikely to be around next season,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio afterwards.
Mallett also questioned the Sharks’ tactics.
“The Sharks, for long periods of the game, ran at people and tried to physically outmuscle the Kings. We all know South Africans are reasonably brave and prepared to tackle. So if you run straight at a Kings player, he is going to tackle you. This performance puts into perspective the Stormers’ win in Port Elizabeth when they scored six tries to beat the Kings. This was a bullying performance by the Sharks, but they only just managed to survive. The Kings showed a lot of heart on defence and they were kept in the game by the Sharks’ mistakes,” Mallett said.
“The Sharks’ decision-making is questionable. In the build-up to the Kings’ second try, the decision-maker is Sharks lock Ruan Botha. One thing a lock shouldn’t do is try a lob pass and he did. It didn’t work and the Kings scored. The ball went right over the head of player outside him. To give away a try like that and a charged down try earlier was charitable. What’s more worrying for the Sharks is the number of scrum penalties they conceded. If they aren’t getting their set piece right, their struggles are going to continue. The Sharks were beating themselves really. If you look at the Kings’ tries, there wasn’t a single pass involved,” Mallett continued.
The halfback combination of Cobus Reinach and Benhard Janse van Rensburg also under-performed for the Sharks, Mallett noted.
“Flyhalf Benhard Janse van Rensburg didn’t take any control of this game, so Cobus Reinach was passing to the forwards all the time to run it and smash it up. There was no direction from the No 9 and No 10. Once Michael Claassens and Garth April came on, the Sharks played with more width and also they somehow got control of the scrums later on in the game. The handling of their tight forwards is also exceptional. It’s brilliant and very hard to defend against.”