Nick Mallett. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has called on the All Blacks to come to South Africa to play the 100th Test here against the Boks.
The tournament is in limbo after New Zealand’s decision not to travel to Perth for their scheduled Test against the Wallabies, while the Springboks and Argentina also did not travel to Australia on Sunday.
There have been rising Covid-19 cases Down Under, leaving tournament organisers scrambling for alternatives to complete the schedule.
SuperSport pundit Mallett was commenting after South Africa’s 29-10 win over Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Mallett said he was confident that the Boks were ready to prove themselves against their All Blacks.
“Let’s get New Zealand over here, they’re the best at running the ball. We’re the best at tackling people who run the ball and turning them over,” Mallett said.
“We’ve got a far better set-piece than them, we’ve got a better maul than them, we’ve got a better kicking game than them. It’s a clash of two different styles of play.”
Commenting on New Zealand’s decision to provisionally cancel their matches against South Africa and Australia, Mallett was clear that the All Blacks needed to show character and honour their commitments to the competition.
“I really hope we have the Rugby Championship in South Africa starting on the 11th of September. We need to play New Zealand and Australia.
“I can’t use the word on TV, but the All Blacks need to show the ‘strength of personality’ to come over here and play the 100th Test in South Africa. ‘Cojones’ – that’s the word in Argentina!”
Mallett also rubbished calls that the Boks should adopt a more attacking style.
“Test matches are there to win, and what Rassie (Erasmus, director of rugby) and Jacques (Nienaber, head coach) have done is they have gotten the team to win. The Springboks play within the laws, we were penalised far less than Argentina, even with the passion with which we play the game,” he said.
“So don’t criticise South Africa for playing this type of Test match rugby when they can win. If they lost, then you can criticise them. 57-0 in 2017 against the All Blacks, 38-3 against Ireland, with exactly the same group of players.
“In 2017 we suffered humiliating losses when we tried to run the ball, it didn’t work much. Now we’re beating the teams that beat us by plenty before by playing to our strength.
“It is not up to us to change the way we play because it’s not attractive. You play the way you play best in order to beat the opposition. If people want to change the way we play, they have to change the laws. Because we’re the best at what we do.”