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Mallett looks to Boks clash

Barbarians rugby coach Nick Mallett hopes to show England how it is done at Twickenham on Saturday.

The former Springboks boss, who is now coach to Italy, pitches his all-star team against South Africa, who gave England a lesson in the physical arts of international rugby last weekend when they defeated Martin Johnson's men 21-11.

Mallett said: "When England played Australia it looked like a southern hemisphere match. England were playing like a southern hemisphere team and they were better at it than Australia on that day. They took Australia by surprise, but once they had done that South Africa looked at it and said 'We don't want to get into that type of game.

He added: "They are probably just as good as us at it.' The physicality of South Africa is very hard to play against.

"You never come out of a game against South Africa feeling comfortable."

Mallett expects the South Africans to throw the ball around more this Saturday in the tradition of Barbarians encounters.

But while he believed England, who lost to New Zealand and South Africa but beat Australia and Samoa in the autumn series, were learning fast under manager Martin Johnson he was not confident they would improve enough to reach a third World Cup final in succession next year.

Mallett said: "England's game was encouraging against New Zealand and it was very, very encouraging against Australia. Then suddenly they were back down to earth with a bang against a physical South African team.

"I still think for England it is going to be tough, but Johnson is the perfect person for the job.

"The way the pool is structured, however, it is impossible to get to the final without meeting two of the teams in the world's top four.


From Belfast Telegraph