Mitch bounces Schalk
27 Aug 2007
John Mitchell has seized on Schalk Burger’s supposed breakdown transgressions as being greater than Richie McCaw’s.
Mitchell, the former All Blacks coach, rejected the constant bagging of McCaw at the breakdown and said the player who should be getting the most attention is Bok flanker Burger.
“There are people out there who are creating a focus on him,” Mitchell told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. “But Burger is one person you want to focus on. He doesn’t keep his feet well. He plays right on the line. But I don’t think he is as accurate as Richie in that area.
“(McCaw) is very long in the upper body, so his greatest asset is that he keeps his feet as long as he can.
“While you are a fetcher of ball, if you keep your feet, you are going to get more favourable decisions than ones that go against you.
“When he is told to release, or given a chance and he has created the slow ball, I guess half of his body doesn’t roll away. That’s the thing most opposition coaches and opponents get annoyed with.”
Mitchell said McCaw had been penalised four times in succession by English referee Chris White in the 2003 World Cup semifinal defeat to Australia, adding this would only add to the All Blacks captain’s motivation this time around.
Mitchell also said those players who were there in 2003 won’t underestimate the occasion as they did in Australia.
“(After) the experience a lot of those guys had in 2003, they will respect the occasion so much more,” said Mitchell, who also felt the All Blacks would benefit from their reconditioning programme.