Nick Mallett

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Nick Mallett
Full name Nicholas Vivian Howard Mallett
Date of birth (1956-10-30) 30 October 1956 (age 58)
Place of birth Haileybury, England
School St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown
University University of Cape Town
University of Oxford
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Number eight
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Western Province
Oxford University RFC
Western Province
Rugby Rovigo
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1984 South Africa 2 (0)
Coaching career
Years Club / team
Rugby Rovigo
False Bay Rugby Club
Boland Cavaliers
South Africa (Assistant Coach)
South Africa
Stade Français
South African Barbarians
World XV
correct as of 11-16-2011.
Rugby union career

Nicholas Vivian Howard Mallett (born 30 October 1956) is a former South African rugby union player who was until recently (his contract with the Italian Rugby Union was not renewed after the 2011 Rugby World Cup) the head coach of the Italian national team,[1] previously replacing Pierre Berbizier on 3 October 2007. He played for and later coached the Springboks, South Africa's national rugby union team.

Early life[edit]

Born 30 October 1956 in Hertford Heath, England, Mallett moved to Rhodesia with his family in 1956 when he was only six weeks old, and his father, Anthony Mallett took up a post as an English teacher at the recently founded Peterhouse School, in Marandellas near Salisbury.[2] Nick first arrived in Cape Town, South Africa in 1963, when his father, was appointed Headmaster of Diocesan College, after which he attended St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1977 with a BA in English and History. While a student at the university, he was selected to play for the Western Province rugby union team.

In 1979 Mallett moved back to England to attend the University of Oxford (University College), where he not only gained further qualifications but also won Blues in rugby union and cricket, famously hitting three sixes in one over off Ian Botham. Eventually he returned to South Africa, where he represented Western Province in four consecutive Currie Cup wins between 1982 and 1985, and played two games for the Springboks in 1984 against the South American Jaguars.

Coaching career[edit]

The beginning[edit]

Mallett once again left South Africa in 1985, this time for France, where he played and coached rugby for seven years until 1992 before eventually returning to South Africa in 1994 and taking a job as Head of the False Bay Rugby Club until 1995.

Between 1995 and 1996, Mallett took up the role of head coach of the Boland Cavaliers before being appointed assistant coach to the Springboks in 1996 and finally getting the job of Springbok Coach in 1997.

Coach of Springboks (1997–2000)[edit]

Between August 1997 and December 1998, under Mallett's guidance, the Springboks went on a record winning streak of 17 consecutive test wins. As part of the unbeaten run the Springboks won the Tri Nations Series undefeated and beat several teams by record margins, including a 52–10 against France in Paris, a 68–10 win over Scotland in Edinburgh, a 33–0 defeat of Ireland and a 96–13 against Wales. The run ended when the Springbok team was defeated by England at Twickenham at the end of a long tour on 5 December 1998.

The relationship between Mallet and Gary Teichmann, arguably South Africa's most successful captain ever, began to sour and Teichman was controversially excluded from the 1999 Rugby World Cup squad. Mallet looked for a new captain, first turning to Corné Krige then Rassie Erasmus, Joost van der Westhuizen and André Vos for a solution. In the end the internal instability in the squad seemed to harm their performance as the squad suffered four consecutive defeats[citation needed] and were finally knocked out of the championship in the semi-final by eventual winners Australia. Despite his team's poor shape in 1999 they still managed to break more records, beating Italy 101–0 and England in the quarter-final 44–21, with Jannie de Beer kicking a world-record five drop goals in that game.

In 2000, Mallett accused the South Africa Rugby Football Union (SARFU) of "greed" for selling Tri-Nations championship tickets at inflated prices[citation needed]. He had alienated the SARFU executive, and on 27 September he resigned as national coach at the start of a disciplinary hearing began into allegations that his comments had brought the game into disrepute[citation needed]. Some fans, upset by how he had treated Teichman and his team's sudden poor performance, were also keen to see him go[citation needed].

Stade Français (2002–04)[edit]

Mallett moved back to France as coach for the Paris club Stade Français, which he led to two consecutive French domestic title wins in 2003 and 2004 before returning to South Africa where he accepted the job of Director of Rugby at Western Province. Initially there was speculation[citation needed] that he might coach the Springbok team again, but those rumours were quashed by the appointment of Jake White as the new South African coach.

In spite of his team's poor performance and the internal strife that characterised his final years as coach, Mallett remains one of South Africa's most successful coaches ever, having won 27 of the 38 tests played under his guidance and rewriting the record books several times.[citation needed]

He was linked with the position of England coach after the resignation of Andy Robinson[3] in 2006, a position that eventually went to Brian Ashton.[4] In 2007 he became coach of Italy.

Italy (2007–11)[edit]

On 3 October 2007 he replaced Frenchman Pierre Berbizier as "CT" (coach) of Italy. His Six Nations debut was fairly impressive; Italy were defeated by Ireland 11–16 in the first game, but came close to victory against Jonny Wilkinson's England.[5] Italy lost also against Wales and France. In those matches he gave Andrea Marcato and Alberto Sgarbi their debuts'. In the final game, Mallett's team beat Scotland 23–20, thanks to Marcato's late drop goal. However, Italy won the wooden spoon because their points difference was worse than Scotland's.

During the summer test matches, he got a good result against South Africa, the world champions at the time, in Cape Town, despite Italy losing 0–26.[6] In Córdoba Italy beat Argentina for the first time thanks to Leonardo Ghiraldini's try and a late penalty by Marcato.

He also coached the Barbarians against the All Blacks in December 2009 with the 'Baa-Baas' winning 25–18.[7] In 2010 Mallet coached the Barbarians to victory over South Africa.

In the 2010 Six Nations he led Italy to a win against Scotland, by 16–12. However despite this victory, Italy's only win in the competition, they didn't avoid the wooden spoon because Scotland's points difference was just one better. In the 2011 Six Nations Championship Italy beat France by 22–21 in arguably their best victory to date.[8]

In November 2011, after the World Cup in New Zealand, Nick Mallet's contract as head coach of Italy expired and he returned to Cape Town with Frenchman Jacques Brunel taking over the Italy job. He has stated that he wishes to spend time with his family in South Africa, despite being linked to England following Martin Johnson's resignation.


External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
France Pierre Berbizier
Italy National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by
France Jacques Brunel
Preceded by
South AfricaCarel du Plessis
South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by
South AfricaHarry Viljoen