It seems Nick Mallett will continue to prioritise his budding career as a television pundit, ahead of any possibilities as a coach or perhaps director of rugby somewhere.
Rob Houwing, Sport24
I understand from a SuperSport insider that the big fellow with the booming and fearless voice has been nailed down for a new contract with them, which will see him regularly on our screens through the 2013 season.
Unsurprisingly, there is always speculation that he may be coaxed back into coaching, where he made his primary mark in a record-breaking run at the Springbok reins in the late 1990s.
But it seems he is enjoying his current, relatively stress-reduced position in a media capacity, where the response to his eternally blunt, candid and articulate input has been overwhelmingly positive, I suspect.
Broadly speaking, South African TV sports pundits – not just in rugby – tend to be fairly reserved and polite in judgements of play and players: Mallett certainly explodes that characteristic, doesn’t he?
SuperSport themselves are aware of the great feedback the former WP and Bok loose forward generates, so presumably he is being well looked after, as they say.
I understand that he has family links in Johannesburg, which makes the regular commute from his Cape Town home more bearable as it means he doesn’t always have to spend his nights in the often claustrophobic confines of hotel rooms.
Incidentally, a lament I had last season was that sometimes we didn’t get enough of his halftime thoughts on matches, given the inevitable, high volume of ads squeezed in during that time: might that change a wee bit for the better with SANZAR stretching the interval for Super Rugby matches from 10 to 12 minutes?
Victor Matfield, of course, will be a TV “casualty” this year as he has returned to full-time duty on the Bulls’ coaching panel.
I was iffy about Big Vic on SuperSport: he was too sporadic in terms of real insight, although I will miss his often spot-on suggestions as to where the ball would be thrown in the lineout, of course …