NZ coaching gives players more power

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Lynn McConnell     19 May 2015     Getty Images

After South African teams lost all four games they were involved in at the weekend, Mallett told SuperSport there was greater emphasis in allowing players more control of their game plan on the field in New Zealand.

"At half-time we heard Naka [Drotske, Cheetahs coach] say it's back to basics. So for the first 10 minutes of the second half we saw driving mauls and up-and-unders.

"And it was strange that they were kicking up-and-unders on Patrick Osborne because he's a very big guy," he said.

Mallett said the coaching approach in New Zealand was different.

"At practice they will put players into situations that they'll face in games. They will play attack against defence.

"The attack is faced with varying types of defence – a press defence, a shift defence, a slow defence, a staggered defence, a tight defence or a wide defence.

"And they get the attack to choose the right option in relation to the defence they're confronted with," he said.

By comparison South African coaches took a different approach.

The would say, 'From this lineout we're going to do this move. We're going to play the centre on a crash-ball. We'll play the same direction with forwards off No.9, then we'll bring it back the other way with a pod of forwards off No.9 and if we get momentum then we'll play it wide'.

"But it's all pre-programmed and it's easy to telegraph," he said.

"Whereas what the New Zealand teams do is give the No.10 the power to make those decisions on the field of play.

"He will direct during phase play who needs to get the ball. And that's why they read the situation so much better than us," Mallett said.

Meanwhile, the losses at the weekend had exposed another problem for South Africa next year when they field a sixth team in the Super Rugby competition.

Mallett feared there would not be enough quality players in South Africa.

"The Lions have played above themselves and have played incredibly well to be where they are. Given the way the Cheetahs performed in this game [against the Highlanders], how on earth are the Kings going to compete next year?

"Where are they going to find the players? It's a big concern for 2016. We're going to have an extra Super Rugby franchise and we've got 350 professional rugby players competing overseas," he said.