Mallett determined to stay the course

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The Independent Online

The South Africa coach, Nick Mallett, clearly stung by criticism of his methods after his side's latest Tri-Nations defeat in Australia, yesterday defied widespread calls for his removal and outlined his plans to get his team back on the right track.

The South Africa coach, Nick Mallett, clearly stung by criticism of his methods after his side's latest Tri-Nations defeat in Australia, yesterday defied widespread calls for his removal and outlined his plans to get his team back on the right track.

Mallett said on his return to South Africa after two Test defeats in Australia and one in New Zealand: "I have a contract which runs until the end of next year and I intend to uphold it."

Calls for Mallett's departure followed four consecutive defeats - which started with the 27-22 loss in Bloemfontein against England in June - but he insists he will stick to his plan to make the Springboks play a more expansive game. Mallett, who acknowledged that the South African Rugby Football Union might well have different ideas, made the commitment to staying even though the team manager, Gideon Sam, said at the start of an airport news conference that the coach would not be answering questions about his future. "I have actually muzzled the coach. He will not talk about his future and the future of coaching in South Africa," Sam said.

Mallett, however, was keen to give his own verdict and said he would consider changing the composition of his coaching panel to bring in a recognised back-line coach, a step that would require thedeparture of his assistant, Alan Solomons.

"I believe that we have got the players, given time, who can compete," he added, stressing that away results in the TriNations series mirrored the poor results of the country's Super 12 teams in Australia and New Zealand.

"I think we have got very skilled rugby players, but the patterns of play that they play, particularly ACT Brumbies and Australia, take time. When you play sides like Australia or New Zealand, I believe they will score between 20 and 30 points, even if you defend well. The key is that you've got to score more than 20 or 30."

The European champions, Northampton, finalised the signing of Scottish international forward Steve Brotherstone yesterday. The 29-year-old hooker, who helped Scotland destroy England's Six Nations Grand Slam effort at Murrayfield four months ago, moves to Franklin's Gardens from the French club Brive. Leicester have signed the 26-year-old Canadian wing Winston Stanley.

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