Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says the gulf between the New Zealand teams and the rest of the Super Rugby participants is significant.
Mallett was speaking in the SuperSport studio after the Stormers’ humiliating 60-21 quarter-finals loss to the Chiefs at Newlands on Saturday.
With the exception of the Lions, Mallett believes the South African and Australian teams are some way behind their Kiwi counterparts.
“This was a real lesson. The Chiefs put 60 points on the Stormers and that shows the gulf between the standard of the New Zealand conference and our conferences. Australian teams are very poor at the moment, but we are closer to Australia than we are to New Zealand, apart from the Lions,” said Mallett.
“The Stormers tried to play a physical and direct game, but the flyhalf, Robert du Preez, was too far back behind the advantage line. He had to be much flatter. The Chiefs were quicker with thought and deed, their lineouts were quick, hand speed quick, running lines far better and their ability to get back on their feet and back into position to re-impose themselves as attacking options were wonderful to watch. The Chiefs made over 100 tackles, whereas the Stormers made half that. The Chiefs’ offensive kicking was very good.”
Mallett also had kinds words for England-bound Stormers flank Schalk Burger, who played his last match for the franchise.
“What Schalk Burger has gone through in terms of injury and illness, and still come back to play every time, is commendable. He is going to be a huge asset as a person and rugby player to Saracens. He has done so much for his union and has never considered moving. I’m sure there have been big proposals from other big unions and from France and he stayed with Western Province and the Stormers. Schalk is a wonderful person and an example of what you can become if you stick to what you do best, which is a top-class rugby player on the field and a fantastic person off it.”