A far more pleasant task for me this week; rating the Sharks 22 who did so well to beat the Blue Bulls on Saturday. Let me know if you agree with these assessments.
1) Pat Cilliers. Played like a man possessed in the first half and was particularly prominent on defence. Part of a Sharks tight five that made life difficult for their opponents all day, Pat did everything you could ask of a prop. Showed up the overrated Werner Kruger and also gave big Bees Roux a torrid time. 7/10
2) Craig Burden. A missed lineout throw first up and a few too many feet in touch (costing him three tries!) were the only slight blots in his copybook. Along with Daniel, the pick of the forwards. 9/10
3) Wiehahn Herbst. A rock in the scrums and far more visible in other aspects of play. Herbst made a few big carries and also put in a few monster hits on defence. 7/10
4) Steven Sykes. A quietish game from Sykes, who I believe very nearly had to cry off injured before the game. That said, he did have his best outing in Sharks colours in quite some time and while still off his best, did a lot to get involved, while still keeping the tight five engine ticking over. 7/10
5) Alistair Hargreaves. Ali really stood up, motivating those around him, all the while maintaining a high standard of play. Completely dominated Wilhelm Steenkamp in all aspects of play and was a tower of strength in the lineouts. Showed deft hands on a few occasions as well when he found himself needing to make crucial passes in the backline. 8/10
6) Jacques Botes. Still forced to play a far tighter role than is really his forte, but Botes was a million percent better than last week. 7/10
7) Mike Rhodes. Despite Andy Capastagno’s somewhat off-colour reference to Big Mike’s extra-mural activities, this kid really does look like he’s focused on his rugby at the moment. Mike goes from strength to strength and showed a huge appetite for work, both on attack and particularly on defence. He’s a very large piece of meat, is Rhodes and he uses that bulk to great effect. His best showing in a Sharks jersey to date. 8/10
8) Keegan Daniel. Keegs was pure class. There’s not really anything more to say. All I can ask is that he repeats this kind of showing every week. 9/10
9) Charl McLeod. Charl did all that you want a scrumhalf to do – ensured he was always in position and cleared the ball quickly and accurately. The Sharks backs, as a result, were on the front foot for most of the game and the benefits were clear. Superb display from McLeod and surely he must now be the starting 9. 9/10
10) Steve Meyer. Steve was huge on defence, putting in one particularly bone-jarring tackle to save a certain try. He varied play well, but one feels he really needs to work on his kicking from hand. Still an accomplished performance, though. 7/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. I just love this guy. The man of the match by quite some margin, simply because of the way his tries turned the game. There isn’t a stronger winger in the South African game, nor, dare I say, a better finisher. 10/10
12) Pat Lambie. Was this really the first time he’s played inside centre? You wouldn’t say so, would you? A simply superb performance, marred only by some indifferent goal-kicking form. 9/10
13) Stefan Terblanche. His leadership was more apparent out there than it was against Griquas, but you can’t help feel that the veteran, on skill and form alone, isn’t quite good enough to be in this Sharks backline. 6/10
14) JP Pietersen. Japes looked his old self out there, full of guile and aggression. Needs to work on his body position in contact, but apart from that, was utterly, utterly superb. He’s only going to get better too. 8/10
15) Louis Ludik. Chalk and cheese performance compared to last week. Ludik was fearless and looked to get involved in everything. Safe under the high ball and showed a willingness to attack, although needs to improve some of his option taking. Heading back to his best form, though, which is a godsend for the Sharks. 7/10
16) Kyle Cooper. Man, this kid is awesome. Wasn’t really on long enough, but put in yet another of his bullocking runs that saw the Sharks make virtually 30 metres. It’s like they just don’t know how to tackle him! 7/10
17) Eugene van Staden. Stood his ground in the scrums, but was otherwise anonymous. 6/10
18) Ross Skeate. Looked rusty and lost the ball twice in contact. Needs to up the intensity, because he’s not on the Cote d’Azure anymore. 4/10
19) Skollie Ndlovu. Not on long enough to be rated.
20) Rory Kockott. Not on long enough to be rated.
21) Monty Dumond. Again, looked poised and in control at all times. Monty is a class act and deserves to play for a coach that has more faith in his abilities. 7/10
22) Andries Strauss. As before, did nothing particularly good or bad on the day. 6/10Tweet