The former Springbok coach made some interesting comments regarding the Springboks’ draw in RWC 2015.
His concern is with the teams comprising Group A: Australia, Wales and England, together with Fidji and Uruguay. Mallett questions the fact that three of the top six nations in the IRB’s rankings are drawn in one group, as it could result in an unfair situation for South Africa, come play-off time.
South Africa should finish first in Group B, and will possibly have to face the team who finishes second in Group A, which could be anyone of the three mentioned above. Another factor bothering him is that one of those three will be eliminated, which could result in some less deserving sides facing the top dogs in the knock-out stage of the game.
Should South Africa overcome this hurdle, they will possibly be up against the All Blacks in the semi-finals. Mallett contends that the current number one and two sides in the world should have been drawn to meet in the final.
If my memory (which is turning into a forgettery these days) serves me correctly, the draw is made, based on teams’ rankings more than a year before the event. So much can change in 12 months that the situation, as outlined by Mallett, becomes a reality, and a nightmare for the IRB.
The World Cup website also commented on the teams drawn in Group A
From a rankings perspective, Pool A is shaping up to be the toughest pool in the history of the tournament since the IRB World Rankings began in 2003. Heading into the November internationals, England (3rd), Australia (4th) and Wales (6th) have a combined ranking of 13 – one less than the previous worst ‘Pool of Death’ involving Australia, Ireland and Argentina at RWC 2003.
I am sure the Springbok squad will adopt a pragmatic approach. To become world champions, you have to beat all the sides you face. It’s as simple as that.
by Paul Kruger
Next Lady for a Shave?
The Australian team face a gruelling task to save the last Test against Pakistan today before heading back to start the T20 series against the Proteas on Wednesday. I don’t want to dwell too much on this match except to say that the Aussies were thoroughly outplayed in the series so far. Where they might have thought, a few months ago, that they were world beaters, the reality is that success in one or two series don’t make you a champion side – it takes time and consistent positive results!
The warm-up game for the Proteas against a young Australian XI didn’t end too well for the visitors, but how much can we really read into that result? What is disappointing is to see that players like Wayne Parnell did not make use of the opportunities on offer. He has been part of the squad for some time now, and at some stage they will need to consider if he really has what it takes at this level. He is simply too hot and cold to be considered for the first XI in my opinion.
T20 matches have various important phases, and one element that we seem to be missing is an accurate death bowling partnership. Kyle Abbot seems to be putting his hand up, but Donald and company will need to pay particular attention to this area if they wish to be consistent in their winning ratio.
Till Wednesday then – bring on the Aussies!
(With their affinity for sheep, we hope that this may result in the remake of a favourite movie – the Silence of the Lambs – editor).
By Bobby Londt