Well, after seven rounds of good ratings, I’m afraid we need to come back down to earth with a bump here. Bear in mind that I have intentionally not looked at the match statistics before compiling these ratings, since they’re meant to be subjective. A detailed statistical analysis will follow later, as always.
1) Beast Mtawarira. Like most of the Sharks tight five, was sublime in the first half and totally anonymous in the second. Beast gave Frik Kirsten a real going-over in the scrums, but was found wanting later on when the young Rossouw de Klerk came on with fresh legs. The Bulls strategy of two props on the bench actually worked out for them and the Sharks were caught without a replacement for a rapidly tiring Beast. 6/10
2) Bismarck du Plessis. The loss of Keegan Daniel early on had a knock-on effect, with Plumtree unable to send Craig Burden on for Bismarck. As a result, the burly Bok was forced to play 80 intense minutes, which I feel was a bridge too far at this stage of his rehabilitation. Bismarck was another to be huge in the first half, only to fall away drastically in the second. Lineout throwing was not to his usual high standard. 6/10
3) Wiehahn Herbst. Herbst was massive in the scrum and totally destroyed Dean Greyling. There was a marked decline in scrum stability when he went off and although he did little in the loose, I thought it was an accomplished performance from the youngster. 7/10
4) Steven Sykes. Put in a few strong runs and ball carries, but seemed one of the worst culprits when it came to handling and should probably have been playing a bit more of a tight game. Still part of a strong pack showing in the first half, but disappeared with everyone else in the second. 6/10
5) Alistair Hargreaves. Alistair had a quiet game by his standards, despite scoring a great try late in the second half. Must take his share of responsibility for the lineout wobbles and as one of the leaders in the team, did little to arrest the second-half slide. 5/10
6) Jacques Botes. Played the linking role pretty well once Daniel went off, but one feels that his contributions at ruck time were missed as a result. Still, on balance, probably the Sharks best loose forward on the night. 7/10
7) Willem Alberts. Hard to give this man a low rating, since he was immense in the first half, before going off for blood. In an ideal world, he wouldn’t have come back out, since he was clearly affected by the knock. Was mostly invisible in the second period, like so man of his teammates. 7/10
8) Keegan Daniel. Was on his way to another superb performance before cruelly going off injured. His 35 minutes were good enough to get him 8/10
9) Charl McLeod. Not his usual accurate self, but nevertheless did his best to get the backs going, only for those a little wider to mess things up. McLeod did enough to secure a good individual rating and was better than Kockott, on the whole. 7/10
10) Pat Lambie. A poor overall game from the youngster, in which he varied his options poorly on attack and too often simply passed the ball on without trying to improve matters for those outside him. Lambie at his worst is still miles better than any other flyhalf option the Sharks had, though and he will learn from this display and come out firing next time. 5/10
11) Lwazi Mvovo. Needs to up his work rate – and drastically. He is our best finisher, yet he so seldom gets his hands on the ball. His try, though, was superb. 6/10
12) Andries Strauss. Did he play? Dries was, quite simply, anonymous throughout. Swannie must start the next game. 4/10
13) Stefan Terblanhce. The captain reverted to type under pressure, opting for safety first and stupid kicks that gave away possession. Where was the leadership on a day when the Sharks so badly needed it? 5/10
14) Odwa Ndungane. Oddy has exactly the opposite problem to Mvovo. His work rate is exemplary, but he lacks the pace to finish. Was badly caught out for pace in the second half when he should have scored the try that would have put the result beyond doubt. 5/10
15) Monty Dumond. A late inclusion and again played out of position, Monty is doing his best, but is not the attacking option the Sharks need at fullback. Kicked away too much possession, although he did make a few impressive line breaks in the first half. 5/10
16) Craig Burden. Burds was forced to come on out-of-position at blindside flank and quite simply disappeared. 4/10
17) Eugene van Staden. At a time when fresh legs were needed to counter the Bulls’ renewed scrum threat, van Staden added nothing at all. 3/10
18) Anton Bresler. The best of the Sharks forwards, he was at least consistent in what he delivered over 80 minutes. Rode the bench like a real pro.
19) Mike Rhodes. Came on as a blood sub for Alberts, but didn’t do enough in five minutes to warrant a rating.
20) Rory Kockott. Did some good things with ball in hand and looked to add a bit of spark to an otherwise flat backline when he came on. Too often took the wrong option, though and his speed of service is still lacking. 5/10
21) Andre Pretorius. Did nothing worth mentioning, which is a pity given that we’ve brought him in because of his experience. 3/10
22) Riaan Swanepoel. Only on for ten minutes, but set up the last try with a frankly superb break. Swannie is a player reborn and needs another shot at the starting 12 jersey. 7/10
OK, now I’m off to look at the match stats! Let me know where I’ve got something wrong here.Tweet