Mallett: Boks, France technically poor

Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)
Nick Mallett (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former national coach Nick Mallett was not impressed by the quality of rugby dished up in Saturday’s Test between South Africa and France in Paris.

The Springboks claimed a narrow 18-17 win to somewhat make amends for their 38-3 loss to Ireland in Dublin the previous week.

The win was however not spectacular, Mallett noted in the SuperSport studio afterwards.

“These are just two technically poor teams. They made so many mistakes and handling errors, and both defences countered anything that the attack brought to bear,” Mallett said.

“But it was just an error-ridden second half from both teams. I just feel the Boks were desperate for the win and the team will be very happy that they came away with a one-point victory. I don’t think the Springboks are in a position at the moment to get a big score. The confidence just isn’t there.”

There were however positives from the Springboks' performance, Mallett stressed.

“We’ve chatted before about how the team should play. How the forwards needed to be more direct and that Handre Pollard and Francois Venter would give the backline a little more aggression in ball carrying. Importantly, our pack was very direct, which helped our backs get across the advantage line," Mallett continued.

“It was good to see Siya Kolisi out there in the wider channels against France. He is a very good ball-carrier, and against France at home in June he was one of the star players. He has lovely soft hands, and with those skills you don’t want him to necessarily be a fetcher. Having Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen do that frees him up a lot. Siya is not someone who fetches as well as he counter-rucks. I don’t think there’s too much wrong with our pack. They were defensively good against France and they are producing the ball. They just have to work on our attack and to get a little fluidity and understanding between the backline players.”

Mallett’s analysis of France was bleak.

“I think this must be one of the worst coached teams in the world. They are absolutely directionless, they haven’t got an exit strategy and just kick the ball out whenever we kicked it deep. Ball in hand, it’s always one-off runners, they run sideways, they offload when they shouldn’t. They are not a well-organised team. And just looking at the other games we saw on Saturday afternoon, Scotland are a well-organised team, as is England, and then Wales are probably better than France.”

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