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South African sides in worrying trends

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Sportal.co.nz     27 Apr 2014     Getty Images

And after the Sharks loss to the Highlanders at the weekend, the failure of the Bulls to win a game on their tour, and the earlier lack of success for South African sides in Australia and New Zealand, former Springbok coach Nick Mallett has more ammunition for his criticisms of the loss of ball skills among South African players.

Speaking on SuperSport Mallett said conservative rugby and poor skills were plaguing rugby in South Africa. This followed his earlier criticism of the style of rugby being played at all levels in the Republic.

It was a problem through all the grades and Mattett said at schools and grassroots level there was not enough emphasis on teaching young players attacking skills.

Ball skills in the country needed 'a tremendous amount of work', he said.

Mallett made an appeal to schoolboys coaches.

"Please teach guys evasive skills, the ability to time a pass, to straighten, to create space on the outside, to run at a gap, to hit-and-spin, to try and offload if you're still on your feet, to try and get continuity without getting to a breakdown and without kicking an up-and-under," he said.

Recent games between South African sides in Super Rugby derbies had highlighted why the Springboks had difficulties when they tried to run the ball against the All Blacks.

"It's no surprise to me that Heyneke Meyer [Springboks coach] decides to play a very limited game with the Springboks.

"It's no wonder the Springboks play a kicking game, because we are not capable of holding onto the ball for long periods," he said.