Looking at the statistics – and being in the position, like most, of being unable to actually see the match – I reckon you could be forgiven for thinking that the Sharks must have absolutely whitewashed Griquas this weekend. Perhaps they did, but one Griquas player, Bjorn Basson, certainly didn’t get the memo!
The Sharks did their regular thing with ball in hand, which was ultimately the difference as they only had to make 85 tackles in total, compared to Griquas 190. The Sharks, as a team, only missed 5 attempts, giving them a tackle effectiveness percentage of 94%. Griquas, on the other hand, were pretty bad, missing 38 altogether for an 83% return. Nowhere near good enough against the Sharks. In fact, had the home side not committed as many errors, they may well have delivered the anticipated whitewash. Top of the pops for the Sharks on defence was, once again, Jacques Botes, with 11 stops, 2 assists and no misses. Willem Alberts was next with 9 tackles, although he did miss one.
When the team as a whole only misses 5 tackles, it’s not really fair to single out individuals, but Charl McLeod did miss two of those and added to fact that he only made 3 in total, his effectiveness of 60% does look pretty bad this week. Odwa Ndungane’s is actually worse, though – as he only made 1 tackle and also missed another.
The loose forwards were the main ball carriers, again, with Alberts (14) just shading Keegan Daniel and Bismarck du Plessis (13 each) in terms of number of carries. Pat Lambie and Lwazi Mvovo were the pick of the backs (10 carries each), while Monty Dumond made the most line breaks, with 4. Alberts wasn’t far behind, with 3 line break, indicating yet another truly outstanding display from the big man. Alberts and Dumond were neck and neck in terms of metres gained as well, with the number 7 (137 metres) just shading the fullback (136). Pat Lambie (149) and captain Stef (158) were the real heroes in that department, though.
Handling was pretty much evenly distributed, with Alberts yet again the man (outside of the halfbacks) to get his hands on the ball most often (26 times). Keegan Daniel and Terblanche were not far behind, with 24 touches each. Jacques Botes was once again the go-to man at ruck time, as he hit 42 in total (32 on attack and 10 on defence). Beast Mtawarira was next best with a total of 37 (33 and 4).
Taking away from Botes’ otherwise superb performance on defence and at the breakdown was the high penalty count. He conceded 3 and also made 4 handling errors, joint equal with Charl McLeod. For the Sharks, execution on the whole was on the sloppy side, with 16 handling errors and 21 other errors keeping Griquas in the game, to a large extent.Tweet