‘Lions play irresistible rugby’ – Mallett

Date published: July 4 2016

Former South Africa head coach Nick Mallett has lauded the Lions' style of play and feels the Springboks should model their game on them.

Mallett, who is a regular guest on SuperSport, was speaking after watching the Super Rugby leaders impress in a 37-10 win over the Sharks.

The Lions scored five tries in the match to seal the bonus-point that takes them above the Chiefs atop the table with two games to play.

Mallett has been impressed by what he's witnessed from Johan Ackermann's group, saying that each player is comfortable with their job.

"Every Lions player knows what his responsibility is," he said after Saturday's game. "They have an absolutely brilliant, accurate attack.

"The reason the Lions are so effective is that every player who hits the gainline, does so at pace with a support runner on his shoulder. So the backs are always trying to offload through the tackle and the forwards are looking to go through with momentum and win quick ball.

"When that happens, defences do not have time to reset and Faf de Klerk is so quick to that ball, that they are creating opportunities."

He added: "The Sharks have a good defensive system, but they were ripped apart by the variety in this Lions attack. The Lions had quite a number of players away with the Springboks, but the Sharks had the majority of their squad in training for those three weeks. It was a highly motivated Sharks team, but the Lions just played irresistible rugby, it was everything I wanted to see from a South African team."

Mallett thinks the Lions' style of play should be adopted by South Africa and felt that not doing so meant outside centre Lionel Mapoe struggled to replicate his Super Rugby form against Ireland in the recent Test series in June.

"A lot of people say Test rugby is a step up and players need to understand that their mistakes and errors cost more and therefore there's a tendency to play more conservatively," he said.

"I'd like to take Lionel Mapoe, who had a very quiet Test series against Ireland, as an example. I can't remember a pass that he got from Damian de Allende in a Bok jersey because De Allende was asked to take the ball up.

"It wasn't Mapoe's fault that he couldn't get his hands on the ball. If we can just get our Springbok attack to replicate the Lions', I'd be so much more confident about our chances against New Zealand and Australia."