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Lessons for SA rugby from Crusaders' win - Mallett

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Sunday, August 5, 2018    Getty Images

The Lions could be proud of their effort even if it had been aided and abetted by the conference system, he said on Supersport.com.

The difference in the final where the Lions enjoyed 69 percent territory and 59 percent possession was that when the Crusaders had opportunities they took them.

"In New Zealand, they actually do measure effort. They have a statistician who takes every single player, when he makes a tackle or cleans a ruck, and measures the time he takes to get back on his feet," Mallett said.

"It has to be less than three seconds and every player has to have 85 percent of incidents when he is back on his feet in less than three seconds. So you can measure effort.

"It is how quickly you get back into the game on attack and defence. The Lions do it well as well. There is a spirit in this team where the Lions work very hard for each other, but the Crusaders are master of it.

"At the breakdown, [Malcolm] Marx was so efficient in the quarter and semifinals, but I don't think he made a single turnover because the quality of the cleans by the Crusaders was so good that he didn't get the opportunities he normally gets," he said.

Mallett said the ability of the Crusaders to lift the pace of the game by 20-30 percent 'with players running onto the ball, the scrumhalf is desperately getting to the ruck to speed up the delivery of the ball so that the defence can't get into position'.

"I went down to New Zealand for a week at an academy. Wayne Smith was coaching the youngsters there. I was quite extraordinary.

"He was standing behind the backline and he would instruct the defence with signals, with coloured codes. So red was a press defence, orange was shift defence, green was three defenders up while two stay back, and they did the same move about 10 times.

"Each time he would ask the flyhalf what his teammates said to him from the outside, what information were you given about the defence. So they teach the attacking team to look and pass information inside, so the decision-makers make better decisions. We need to do that more in this country, " he said.

But after having seen all the Super Rugby play from South African sides, Mallett said new Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus would have some quality to choose from.

While there were quality individuals, they would be able to put together a strong side, and especially a strong pack of forwards to match the All Blacks.

"I am really positive about the Rugby Championship," he said.