Former Boks coach Nick Mallett. Photo: Getty Images

Former Boks coach Nick Mallett. Photo: Getty Images

Nick Mallet: Rugby has evolved, but the Springboks have not

The problem is far bigger than the coach…

Former Boks coach Nick Mallett. Photo: Getty Images

Former Boks coach Nick Mallett. Photo: Getty Images

As the Springboks sunk to new lows over the weekend, losing 20-18 to Italy, every man and his dog  and almost every ex-Bok on Twitter has had their say about what is wrong with the Boks.

Some voices carry more clout than others, of course, and Nick Mallet is one voice that has been rumbling loudly about all their woes.

Mallet was visibly upset following the shock loss over the weekend and in his assessment of their shortcomings, Mallet pinned the blame on everything from the player exodus to the lack of skills.

In the SuperSport studios, he said: “I never expected to see Italy beat the Springboks.

“Many of our best players are being lured overseas, especially to England, France and Japan, by much higher salaries than they can earn at home. It used to be that South Africans went abroad in the twilight of their careers to bolster income. Now they are leaving the country in their prime.”

At last count, there were over 300 South African rugby players overseas. The exchange rate as well as the brutal travelling schedule for Super Rugby fixtures have all been touted as reasons for the exodus.

“South African rugby is in a low, depressing, terrible place,” Mallet added.

The former Bok coach had sympathy for the current incumbent and captain, saying: “It would be easy to blame the coach [Allister Coetzee] or the captain [Adriaan Strauss], but the problems run deeper than that. We need to choose our best players and make sure they are handled by the best coaches.”

Bringing about change will take time. It took Johan Ackerman almost three seasons at the Lions to see a shift in the DNA of skop, skiet en donner rugby. And Mallet believes it needs to change sharpish.

“The Springbok attacks are too simplistic – all you need do to stop them is be brave. We still believe we can kick and tackle our way to victories.

“Rugby has evolved, but the Springboks have not. There is a need for a massive mindset change,” he added.

Watch the full dissection below.