Another week goes by and the Sharks put in another superb performance, with the quality throughout the squad really starting to show. Another big “well-done” to all concerned is reflected in the ratings. As always, let me know where you agree or disagree with these (subjective) assessments.
1. Pat Cilliers: Patto was superb and responded beautifully to the challenge of Beast on the bench pushing hard for a spot. Dominant in the scrum – if only the idiot ref could have realised that! 8/10
2. Craig Burden: Going from strength to strength this season, Craig was again superb. Set pieces looked fine and he showed a high work-rate with ball in hand. 8/10.
3. Eugene van Staden: After a quiet start to his Sharks career, the big former Griquas man is really showing his value. Solid in the scrum and very prominent both on attack and defence. In this man and Wiehahn Herbst, we have two superb tightheads for the season. 8/10
4. Ross Skeate: His best performance to date. Skeate was simply immense and showed a high work-rate and superb skills. 9/10
5. Alistair Hargreaves: Can’t wait for the stats this week, because I reckon they’ll show that Hargs did an absolutely HUGE amount of the donkey work in order to allow Skeate a little more freedom. 8/10
6. Jacques Botes: Ever-present at the breakdown and did his beavering best to supply quick ball to his team (and slow ball to the other guys). Put in a few of his trademark linking runs too. What an asset! 8/10
7. Keegan Daniel: Immense work-rate, amazing skill and anticipation and showed strength on the burst that belies his size. Keegan is in the form of his life would probably be playing international rugby if he had been born anywhere other than South Africa. 9/10
8. Willem Alberts: Again truly superb. Played a huge role in re-starting a few promising moves after Kockott has done his best to stall them through slow service. 8/10
9. Rory Kockott: While perhaps a little unfair to compare him to Charl McLeod, that’s all we really have to go on and the fact is, Rory isn’t up to the standard of his former understudy. Far too often caught out of position and his service is too slow. Also takes wrong options way too regularly. Did well to score a trademark try, though. 5/10
10. Pat Lambie: Didn’t have quite as easy a ride this week, given the ball he got. Still did well to dictate the play and vary his options. Stood up well to a couple of dangerous late charges and maintained his composure throughout. The only small criticism is that one or two of his kicks looked a little aimless, but for the moat part, another accomplished performance at pivot. 8/10
11. Lwazi Mvovo: What a gem we have unearthed in this chap. Pace, Power and enthusiasm to burn. If only Bryan Habana could play like this. 9/10
12. Andries Strauss: Mr Solid was again just that. Strauss showed that in a backline full of x-factor players, sometimes all that’s needed is a guy who can execute the basics well to be in position when required and act as the link. Superb on defence, as always. 8/10
13. Stefan Terblanche: Made me eat my hat by putting in a wonderful display this week, including two great tries. Did he perhaps look his best when forcec to replace Ludik at fullback, though? Stef’s best outing in Sharks colours this season. 9/10
14. Odwa Ndungane: A promising return from injury. Really works hard and gets involved in everything. 7/10
15. Louis Ludik: Coming back to his best form and starting to look dangerous with ball in hand. Scored his maiden Sharks try to boot. 8/10
16. Bismarck du Plessis: Bismarck’s discipline was shocking and the 3 penalties he conceded within the space of 10 minutes completely halted the momentum late in the game. 3/10
17. Beast Mtawarira: After spending way too much time on the sidelines, Beast is back and he’s dangerous as always. How is Plumtree ever going to choose between him and Cilliers for the next game? 8/10
18. Steven Sykes: Didn’t really get enough time for a fair rating, but didn’t do anything wrong.
19. Mike Rhodes: Very visible and very busy when he replaced Alberts. Showed a fair turn of pace on occasion and created one of Terblanche’s tries with a superb breakdown steal. 8/10
20. Charl McLeod: The difference was immediate when he was introduced, as he just brings so much more pace and continuity to the game than Kockott does. He MUST start against Province. 8/10
21. Monty Dumond: Full of running and proved a valuable attacking option against a tired Leopards defence. 7/10
22. Riaan Swanepoel: Swannie’s defence was perhaps THE single biggest reason that the Leopards failed to score a try, despite some frantic attacking play late in the second half. The lad is enjoying something of a renaissance after being dropped earlier in the season and was again creative on attack. Could 13 be his best position? 9/10