Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa sets the standard - Mallett

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As South Africa prepares for its Currie Cup semifinals on Saturday, between the Bulls and Lions in Pretoria and Western Province and the Sharks in Cape Town, Mallett expressed his concerns over the poor rugby in both South Africa's Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup series.

 

Mallett told SuperSport, "It's difficult not to be a little negative on the performances of our teams quite frankly.

 

"If you compare it with the way New Zealand cracked in with their Aotearoa competition, with teams really embracing the quick ruck ball and ball-in-hand [style]…they were reasonably high-scoring games, but the defences were excellent, and their attacks were great.

 

"And it was rugby that was worth watching," he said.

 

Mallett said rugby came out of lockdown in South Africa with issues of fitness and conditioning of players.

 

"There were a lot of error-ridden games early on. And then it appeared that every single team that got into a tight situation just resorted to World Cup final tactics which basically means driving mauls, pushing scrums for penalties and kicking an up-and-under from nine [halfback] or 10 [first five-eighths] the entire game.

 

 

 

"Sadly [this type of game] just does make for good viewing," he said.

 

Mallett likened it to waiting for the other side to make a mistake, something South Africa had employed in the 2019 Rugby World Cup semifinal against Wales. While it was good South Africa won, it had not been a good rugby spectacle.

 

 

"We have to remember that we are in the entertainment business in rugby and we need to entertain people. And people get entertained by watching tries being scored through good passing, good lines of running, timing and good stepping.

 

"To see [Cheslin] Kolbe score a try is worth sitting there for an hour and a half in an afternoon. But if I've got to watch up-and-unders and driving mauls all day…and collapsed scrums and penalties…I'm not excited by that product. So, I think we've got a few issues to talk through," he said.

 

Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off on Friday 26 February when the Highlanders take on the Crusaders at Forsyth Barr Stadium. View the full draw HERE.