Cape Town – Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett feels no excuses can be made for the Springboks’ performance against Ireland at Newlands this past weekend.
The Irish stunned the Boks 26-20 in Allister Coetzee’s first Test as new national coach.
It was their first ever win over South Africa on these shores and what made the feat even more remarkable was that they did so my playing the majority of the match with 14 men after CJ Stander was red carded in the 22nd minute.
“I’m afraid there’s no way you can sugar coat this. This was a very, very poor Bok performance and the players must take responsibility,” Mallett said in the SuperSport studio after Saturday’s game.
According to Mallett, several of the experienced campaigners should take the blame for the loss.
“The only three guys who looked as though they were up for the game were Faf de Klerk (who started) and Warren Whiteley and Pieter-Steph du Toit when they came on.
“Senior players like Duane Vermeulen, Beast Mtawarira, both locks (Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager), Adriaan Strauss, Frans Malherbe, JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux and Damian de Allende were very poor today.
“We made so many handling mistakes and took so many bad decisions. We ran across the field, our defence was dreadfully passive. We played 50 minutes against 14 men and not once did we look like creating an opportunity to exploit that extra man. In fact, our tries came from an obstruction and an intercept. The Irish looked so much more enthusiastic. They were contesting every breakdown, getting off the line and tackling hard and it just didn’t look as though our guys were mentally up for the game.
“There were a number of occasions where we had five or six players on the blindside and one player cleaning the ruck. So that player was under constant pressure to try and get the ball back. The role of each player was not clearly defined. What was clear with that Irish side was that when they had the ball, they knew exactly which three or four players had to clean over that ball. We hardly made a turnover once Francois Louw was off the field. Our scrum and contact situation was very loose and theirs was very compact.”