Nick Mallett is probably best-known for his historic achievement of coaching the Springboks to an unbeaten 17 match run of Test victories between 1997 and 1998. Nowadays, he is a regular expert panellist on Supersport and is highly-regarded both locally and internationally in this field of work. He also speaks at corporate events and is an accomplished after-dinner speaker.
He played for (two Tests in 1984), and coached, the Springboks amongst other high profile rugby endeavours stretching back to his rugby playing days that began in 1977. In 1979 he studied at Oxford, gaining his Blue for the famous English University before returning to Western Province and then playing in France and Italy.
He became multilingual and would later coach in both those countries, at Stade Francais between 2000 and 2004 (leading the French side to successive domestic titles in 2003 and 2004) and the Italian National side from 2007 to 2011.
In 1997, he was appointed Springbok coach, succeeding Carel du Plessis, and enjoyed almost immediate success. Between August 1997 and December 1998, the Boks went on a record winning streak of 17 consecutive Test wins.
This included the 1998 Tri Nations as well as setting record winning margins against the likes of France (52-10 in Paris), Scotland (68-10 in Edinburgh) and a 96-13 defeat of Wales.
He took the Springboks to the 1999 Rugby World Cup where eventual winners – Australia – knocked them out in the semi-final. During the tournament, they managed to beat Italy 101-0 and England 44-21 in the quarter-finals.
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.