CAPE TOWN — Nick Mallett has warned the Springboks not to be over-confident against England, pointing to their big improvement under new coach Stuart Lancaster as a sign of the danger they pose.
England arrive in South Africa today for a five-match tour that includes three Tests.
The former Springbok coach said that once England got to grips with what Lancaster wanted in the Six Nations, they finished strongly. Ireland were belted and France were beaten in Paris; two notable achievements.
“He’s opted for a younger squad because the older players have let them down. Guys like Owen Farrell and Danny Care represent the best of them, while Manu Tuilagi is very powerful, unlike anyone England has produced,” said Mallett.
“Their front row is very good, having dominated Ireland and even Italy, who are traditionally very strong in this area. Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley and Alex Corbisiero could give the Boks real problems.
“Their lineout, scrum and kicking game is impressive and Chris Robshaw, the captain, has instilled a feel-good factor and will be up for it after winning the league with Leicester this past weekend.”
Mallett expects the first Test in Durban to be the hardest for SA. England will have had a longer break than the Springboks, won’t suffer from jetlag and will be playing at the coast.
“Back here, our Super Rugby sides will be going at it hammer and tongs this weekend. A lot of the England game will have to be played purely on passion and heart — there just isn’t enough time for detailed game plans. It will very much come down to forward dominance. If the Boks can do that, it will allow Morné Steyn to kick drops and penalties. If not, it could develop into a long, hard tour.”